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Panko-Crusted Asparagus Spears
Victoria Abbott Riccardi
“Warm from the oven, these crunchy asparagus spears make a tasty side dish or cocktail nibble. Before being coated in panko breadcrumbs they are rolled in a flavorful sesame-miso sauce that doubles as a simple dipping sauce.”
Cooking spray, preferably canola oil
⅓ cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons white miso (see Notes)
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
¾ cup Japanese-style panko (see Notes)
¼ cup sesame seeds
1Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat with cooking spray.
2Combine mayonnaise, scallions, miso, chile-garlic sauce and oil in a small bowl.
3Place asparagus in a shallow dish and toss with half the miso mixture (about ¼ cup), making sure the asparagus is well coated.
4Combine panko and sesame seeds in another shallow dish. Working with one spear at a time, roll in the panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each spear. Coat the prepared spears with cooking spray.
5Roast the asparagus until the coating is browned and crispy and the asparagus is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the remaining miso mixture as a dipping sauce.
Notes: Miso is fermented soybean paste made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans, salt and grains (usually barley or rice) with koji, a beneficial mold. Miso is undeniably salty, so a little goes a long way. White or sweet miso (Shiromiso), made with soy and rice, is yellow and milder in flavor; use for soup, salad dressings and sauces for fish or chicken. Look for it near tofu at well-stocked supermarkets.
Although we typically use whole-wheat panko-style breadcrumbs, for this recipe we recommend using white, Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs for the best texture and flavor. Look for them in the Asian-food section of most supermarkets or near other breadcrumbs.