Brian's Photo Blog — Article 650
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Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries
Monday 1 May 2017   —   Category: Cooking & Food
As I shared last December, I am dis­tress­ing­ly behind in my photo processing and article writing. But it’s not as if I’m doing nothing to catch up. If you take a look at the index of 2017 articles, you will see that during the first four months I wrote 36 articles, mostly about the Jap­a­nese Garden and my continuing Mc­Men­a­mins Passport adventure.

During those same four months I wrote only one article about cooking. As I la­ment­ed in that December article, “Even worse, I have pictures from more than 30 food events from all the way back in March 2016. Yikes!” Nearly five months later it’s still true. Double yikes!!

So after giving McMenamins a lot of at­ten­tion lately, it’s time to head back to the kitchen and see what’s cooking. On today’s menu are Crispy Baked As­par­a­gus Fries.

First I had to prepare an assembly line of ingredients. From left to right in the four dishes I had: asparagus in water; flour; beaten egg with a bit of milk; and panko with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

The process goes like this: take a wet stock of asparagus and roll it in the flour until it is completely covered. Shake off excess flour. Put the flour-​coated stalk in the egg mixture, turning as necessary, until the flour turns into an eggy paste. Roll the stalk in the panko mixture until completely coated. Shake off any excess panko and put the breaded asparagus stalk on a baking rack.

I used an 11½" x 16½" baking rack sit­ting inside a 13" x 18" rimmed baking half sheet. As always, it’s a pleasure to have the right equipment for the job.

It’s a bit of a pain to take an asparagus stalk through this process. Doing it twenty times was quite time-​consuming and tedious. Next time I would be very tempted to use larger stalks of asparagus, even though they are not as tender. I didn’t peel the stalks, but if I had larger ones I would.

Once all the asparagus are breaded and on the rack, all the hard work is done. The recipe I was following didn’t say what temperature oven to use, and I neglected to put that detail in my notes. You want the asparagus to be tender, but not dried out, since it is 93% water.

I would try 400°F, and depending on how they turn out, adjust it from there. I cooked them about 20 minutes until the outside was start­ing to get golden, as you can see in the photo to the right.

I served the Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries with my version of Chicken Par­me­san: non-breaded pan-roasted chicken breast on top of angel hair, topped with a tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.

This last photo to the right is a closer view of the food in the first picture above. Larger versions of all five images on this page have been added to the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2016 album.

I don’t know why it took me more than 50 years to discover the amazing panko in early 2016. I must have been living under a rock! Since that first encounter I love panko so much that I have been using it in other dishes as well, which I will tell you about in future articles.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 650
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