Monday, April 13, 2009

Springtime recipe

One of the joys of spring time eating is an abundance of fresh asparagus. Try this recipe for a real treat! Make your own fresh bread crumbs by whizzing 4 slices of white bread in the food processor then spreading in a flat pan to dry in the oven.

Asparagus Gratin with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

3 quarts salted water

24 medium-size asparagus spears (about 1-1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons fine plain dry bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Bring the salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus stalks. With a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom half of the stalks. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until tender but still crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the cheese, bread crumbs, and lemon zest together until blended.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the asparagus stalks in a single later in an 8-inch square or similar-size flameproof baking dish. Drizzle the asparagus with the melted butter and sprinkle an even layer of the bread crumb mixture over it. Broil about 4 minutes from the heat until the bread crumb mixture is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.

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