This is not the post I intended for today. In fact I have another one all set to go BUT – I happened to stop at three local grocery stores in the past two days and saw this:
How could I resist? If your family’s anything like ours, you probably have lots of special occasions coming up. There’s Easter right around the corner, graduations, Mother’s Day, spring dinner parties, wedding showers and on and on, right?
These seasonal low prices, make it the perfect time for a super delicious, healthy, make-ahead asparagus recipe.
I threw several bundles in my cart – asparagus is now definitely on our Easter menu!
I like to keep my veggie dishes fairly simple, allowing their delicious, natural flavor to shine. This recipe’s easy and full of flavor, but the best part is; there’s minimal last minute fussing. Throw the green stalks in a pot of simmering water for a few minutes earlier in the day, then drain and plunge into icy water. Drain once more and you’re done with the asparagus, except for a minute or two of warming, just before serving.
The lemon parsley panko crumbs? Again, easy peasy! Panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs, available in the Asian section of most larger grocery stores) are tossed with melted butter, finely shredded lemon zest and fine chopped parsley. This crisp, buttery, fresh tasting garnish can also be prepared a few hours ahead.
Just before serving, melt a bit of butter in a pan. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the already crisp-tender asparagus, and simply toss for a minute or two till warm. Find a pretty platter to plate your beautiful green spears, top with the golden crumbs and you’ve got a company-worthy side that’s easy enough to serve any day of the week!
P.S. If you’re ready to shed a bit of that winter weight, I’ve got a recipe coming up on Monday to help you get the ball rolling. I think you’re going to love it!
The KitchenAid Giveaway ended today and we have a winner!
Marie, please contact us with your address within 24 hours otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
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Asparagus with Lemon Panko Crumbs
Next time you see asparagus on sale, grab a bunch or two. This side is full of flavor but lets the delicious asparagus shine! It can made ahead of time too, love that!
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Vegetables
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 4 teaspoons butter, divided
- ½ cup panko crumbs*
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Snap or cut tough lower ends off of asparagus spears. If you hold an asparagus spear at the lower end with one hand and about half way up the stalk with the other and bend the stalk, it will generally snap at the point where the tender and tougher areas meet. I usually snap one this way and then cut the others at about the same place.
- Set a large strainer in your sink. Fill a medium size bowl with water. Add a cup of ice cubes. Set aside.
- Heat a large pot of water till rapidly boiling. Add one teaspoon kosher salt and stir. Add asparagus and set a timer for 2-4 minutes. Cook till crisp tender. Very slender stalks will barely take 2 minutes, thicker ones can take up to 4 minutes.
- As soon as asparagus is crisp tender, drain well, then immediately plunge into prepared iced water. This will stop the cooking process and prevent the asparagus from becoming wilty.
- Drain well again. Roll asparagus in a clean kitchen dish towel and pat lightly. If making ahead, remove asparagus from towel and wrap with several thicknesses of paper toweling. Place wrapped asparagus in a plastic storage bag and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
- For the panko crumbs, heat butter in a small sauté pan until melted. Add panko crumbs and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add lemon zest and parsley. Set aside. (Can be made several hours in advance. Cover and store in a airtight container when cool.)
- When ready to serve, melt remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet. Add lemon juice and swirl pan to mix. Add asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste) and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat asparagus with butter mixture. Heat till asparagus is hot, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with prepared panko crumbs.
Panko crumbs are Japanese bread crumbs. They used to be a little harder to find, but these days, most larger grocery stores carry them in the Asian section. You can also find them online.