Crispy Pan Fried Asparagus Stalks
Tender Asparagus Coated in a Crispy Golden Crust
- Servings: 4.
This recipe is adapted from one by Marcella Hazan that appeared in her first cookbook, The Classic Italian Cookbook. Tender stalks of asparagus are trimmed of any thick ends, dipped in egg, dusted in breadcrumbs and then quickly fried in a little canola or olive oil.
While many home cooks prefer to use homemade breadcrumbs, this recipe works best with the very fine and very dry crumbs sold at the supermarket. That's because the fine crumb adheres far better than ones that may be coarser. Just be sure to buy crumbs that are unseasoned so that their taste doesn't interfere with the asparagus's delicate flavor.
The time it takes to cook the asparagus will vary depending upon how thick they are. Increasingly we can find pencil-thin stalks and these will cook very quickly. But if you use thicker asparagus stalks, take that into account as these can take twice the time to become tender.
- 1 1/2 pounds crisp, fresh asparagus
- 2 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fine, dry unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- Canola or olive oil, enough to come 1/2-inch up the side of a skillet or sauté pan
- Trim off the bottoms of the asparagus stalks, removing any coarse, thick bottoms and leaving a stalk about 5 to 6 inches long, including the tips.
- Wash the asparagus carefully in cold water, including rinsing the tips of any sand or dirt. Pat completely dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel.
- Place the beaten egg in a deep oval or round dish and spread the breadcrumbs on a shallow dish or on a piece of parchment paper. Working with a third, clean plate, set up an assembly line by dipping the asparagus spears first in the egg, coating them completely but letting any excess egg drip off. And then roll the spears in the breadcrumbs, coating them completely. Place the coated asparagus on the clean plate.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or sauté pan over high heat. When it is very hot, place the coated spears into the oil, a few stalks at a time, trying not to crowd the pan; you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan and how many asparagus spears you're cooking (there are many more skinny stalks in a pound than thicker ones).
- When the spears have formed a crust on one side, turn it over. Continue to cook until the stalks are tender and golden brown. Transfer with a slotted spatula to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt right after you've finished cooking as this helps the salt to adhere.
- Serve immediately.
Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.