PARMESAN ASPARAGUS FRIES

When grocery shopping for just yourself, it’s kind of tough to buy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables because of the difficulty that comes finishing all of them while they are fresh. I currently have an overabundance of asparagus, as I bought a bundle from the grocery a few days ago that had roughly 25 stalks in just one bundle. Not wanting to continue to eat roasted asparagus day in and day out, I decided to think outside the box to try to find another method to eat asparagus.

A while ago, I remember eating at one of the American casual dining restaurants (e.g. Chili’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, etc.) and having an appetizer that consisted of breaded snap peas. I used that dish as the primary inspiration for these asparagus fries. They are not too difficult to make, have a great flavor to them, and are certainly a fun take on having asparagus with your meal!

Parmesan Asparagus Fries
Makes 1 serving

~ 8 stalks of asparagus
~ 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
~ 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
~ 1/8 tsp salt
~ 1/8 tsp pepper
~ 1/4 tsp basil
~ 1/4 tsp oregano
~ 1/4 cup flour
~ 1 egg

To prep the asparagus, first wash up the stalks, and then cut off the tough ends at the bottom (usually don’t need to cut off more than one inch). Now, with the remaining stalks, cut them in half or in thirds, depending on how big you want your fries to be. Set your cut asparagus stalks aside.

In a separate bowl, blend together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Give it a taste to see if you like how it is, or balance it more according with your own personal preference. Once all the stalks have been cut, toss them into the flour before dipping into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Since the asparagus has a waxy exterior to them and it’s hard for the coating to stick to it, we’ll use a double breading to make sure that we get a nice outer breadcrumb layer.

After you pull the asparagus out of the breadcrumbs the first time, turn right back around and plunge it back into the egg, tossing it again in the breadcrumb mixture to add to its outer coat. Once the stalks are fully breaded, take out a medium skillet pan that can hold all of the stalks and heat up some olive oil on medium-high heat. We want to do a shallow pan-fry, so you’ll end up needing a little more in the pan than the average amount you might use for conventional stovetop cooking.

During cooking, you don’t really need to adjust the heat too much, but just keep an eye out that you are not burning the fries in the pan. I would say that the fries cook on one side for no more than a minute and a half, but watch for the golden brown color. That will tell you more about when it’s time to turn the asparagus fries and when they are done.

Once you’re finished, remove from the heat and serve them up. You could go with a side dish like I did, or you could make it a full-fledged appetizer. I tried some of mine with Sriracha sauce, and it was very good. The spiciness countered very well with the Parmesan cheese flavor, but I could imagine that something like marinara sauce or barbecue sauce would be pretty good too. It’s certainly a different take on eating asparagus, and something that I will be to trying again in the future!

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