Lightly coated with a savory mixture of panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, my parmesan asparagus is a delectably crispy veggie offering perfect as either an appetizer or a scrumptious side dish. It even comes complete with a super simple lemony sun-dried tomato aioli on the side as a bright and flavorful dipping sauce!
Parmesan Asparagus, Tender yet Crispy Deliciousness
As we head into that time of year when we begin thinking about holiday parties and gathering together, having some delicious, unique and even fun recipes on hand to prepare and share with loved ones is a great thing.
Appetizers and scrumptious side dishes are the types of recipes which I personally find myself thinking about most, because these are the ones that folks get excited for.
My recipe for parmesan asparagus, prepared with tender spears of bright green and crisp asparagus, is a delectable favorite that can be served nice and hot, or even at room temperature.
Either way, these asparagus spears remain nice and crisp, and when served on a platter with a side of the lemony sun-dried tomato aioli for dipping, you've got a finger-licking offering to lay out before your meal, or even include as part of your main spread!
How to Make Parmesan Asparagus with a Crispy Coating
Just to take a little of the raw bite out of the asparagus spears before coating and shallow-frying them, I like to very quickly blanch my asparagus in salted and lemon-infused simmering water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on thickness of the spears), just until tender on the inside yet crisp on the outside.
I use a squeeze of lemon in the water to “acidulate” it, or create an acidic environment, as this is part of what helps the asparagus keep that appealing, vibrant green color.
The other thing that helps to maintain that vibrance is to immediately shock the spears, once blanched, in ice water to stop any further cooking, locking in the color and crispness.
Then all that's left is to coat the spears in the parmesan mixture then shallow fry until golden-brown and nice and crisp.
Here's a peek at my parmesan asparagus recipe: or just jump to the full recipe below...)
- I like to start by preparing my lemony sun-dried tomato aioli dipping sauce, then set that aside in the fridge to keep cold.
- Next, I blanch the asparagus spears with a good squeeze of lemon and a hefty dash of salt, shock them in ice water, then drain and pat them dry.
- I then give the asparagus its crispy coating by first dipping each spear into flour, then some whisked eggs, then the parmesan and panko mixture.
- The parmesan asparagus is shallow-fried in batches until golden-brown and crispy, for roughly 2-3 minutes, turning once.
- I allow the fried asparagus to drain on a paper towel-lined wire rack for a moment or so, then pile them onto a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 403 calories (with 2 tablespoons of aioli)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Parmesan Asparagus Ingredients:
- 2 (12 ounce) packages asparagus, bottoms trimmed
- 1 lemon, halved
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- Safflower or vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- Pinch paprika
Lemony Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli Ingredients:
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 1 tablespoon, heaping, minced sun-dried tomatoes
- Begin by preparing your lemony sun-dried tomato aioli: add all of the ingredients into a bowl, and whisk until smooth and well blended; keep in a covered container in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To prepare the parmesan asparagus: place a medium-large pot of water over high heat, and add a good amount of salt so that it tastes like sea water; squeeze in the lemon and stir to combine, and bring to the boil.
- Once the water boils, add in the asparagus, and blanch them for about 30 seconds – 1 minute; remove from water and plunge into an ice water bath to shock the asparagus and stop if from further cooking, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Prepare your breading area by getting your flour ready in one bowl or container, your whisked eggs in another, and the panko breadcrumbs combined with the parmesan in another.
- Dip the asparagus spears into the flour to coat, then into the eggs, then into the panko-parmesan mixture to coat; set aside on a large platter, and repeat until all are coated.
- Heat enough oil in a large skillet or pan to generously cover the bottom (enough for shallow frying), and once hot, begin adding batches of the coated asparagus spears and fry, turning them once, until golden-brown and crisp, roughly 2-3 minutes.
- Drain on wire racks, and repeat with all coated asparagus; sprinkle with a bit of paprika to finish.
- Serve on a platter with chilled aioli on the side for dipping.
Tips & Tidbits for my Parmesan Asparagus:
- Choose asparagus spears with a medium-thickness: For this recipe I recommend choosing stalks that are of a medium thickness—not too thin and not too stubby or thick. It's better to go a bit thicker than too thin, because at least the spears will hold up well and keep their shape, which is more challenging if they're too thin.
- Trim or snap off the stalky, tough bottoms: My preferred method of getting rid of that tougher bottom on asparagus stalks is to use my hands to gently bend each stalk near its bottom allowing it to snap off where it naturally becomes tender. If it's easier for you, just cut off the bottoms where you think will be best.
- Add lemon to water to maintain vibrance: When you blanch your asparagus, add a good squeeze of lemon (half a lemon works great) to the simmering, salted water. The lemon juice helps the spears to keep their vibrant green color, as does shocking in ice water afterwards.
- Super simple aioli for dipping: While a traditional aioli is actually made using raw egg yolks and olive oil, in order to keep this recipe extra safe and a bit easier, I just use prepared mayo as a base, then whisk in the other ingredients, making this more of a “mock” aioli.
- Serve freshly fried, or room temp: These parmesan asparagus spears are delicious when served hot out of the oil, or even room temp. So worry not if you put them out and they cool down a bit. Just make sure to serve the aioli dipping sauce cold! 😉
Cook's Note: This recipes was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!