The recipe comes from Cooks Country. I love watching this program on Detroit Public Television and all the current season's recipes are available free online. There is a video on their website showing how to make this. It is a fun watch.
The recipe suggest pricking the stems all over with a fork, sprinkling with salt and letting sit for 30 minutes so excess water is leached out. In theory this should work but in reality it was a waste of time. There was so little water to come from these and the finished product was not soggy so I would suggest just skipping that step. Be sure to thoroughly dry the stalks after washing. I had some problem getting the breading mixture to stick.
Avoid pencil-thin asparagus for this recipe. Work quickly when tossing the asparagus with the egg whites, as the salt will rapidly begin to deflate the whites.
- 2 pounds (1/2-inch-thick) asparagus, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Pinch cayenne
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon honey
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Using fork, poke holes up and down stalks of asparagus. Toss asparagus with ½ teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes on a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
2. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Transfer half of bread-crumb mixture to shallow dish and reserve remaining mixture. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and honey on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape into 13 by 9-inch baking dish and toss asparagus in mixture. Working 1 spear at a time, dredge half of asparagus in bread crumbs and transfer to baking sheet. Refill shallow dish with reserved bread-crumb mixture and repeat with remaining half of asparagus.
3. Bake asparagus until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan and continue to bake until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to platter. Serve.