ABOUT THE RECIPE
1 thick slice good bread
1 small chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano, about 1 ounce
1 ½ pounds thin asparagus, more or less
3 tablespoons butter, extra virgin olive oil, or a combination
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A NOTE ON MEASUREMENTS
We work with chefs from all around the world, which is why we include both imperial (cups/ounces) and metric (grams) measurements. To achieve best results, we highly recommend that you utilize a kitchen scale and follow the metric measurements when possible.
Heat oven to 500 degrees; while it heats, put bread in, and check frequently until it is lightly toasted and dry. Coarsely grind or grate bread and cheese together (a small food processor is best), and keep crumbs larger than commercial bread crumbs.
Rinse asparagus, and break off woody bottoms. Lay stalks in a baking dish that will hold them in two or three layers. Toss with bits of butter or the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in the oven.
Roast for 5 minutes, then shake the dish to redistribute butter or oil. Roast 5 minutes more, then test for doneness by piercing a spear with the point of a sharp knife; it should slide in but meet a little resistance. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made as much as two hours before serving; just leave asparagus at room temperature).
Turn on the broiler and place the rack as close as possible to the heating element. Top asparagus with cheese-crumb mixture and run under broiler to brown, a minute or two. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This recipe is easily varied. For instance, forget the topping and toss the spears with 1 tablespoon of minced garlic when you add the oil, then roast. Skip the broiler step.
For roast asparagus with soy and sesame, use 1 tablespoon peanut oil instead of olive oil or butter. Halfway through roasting, add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the asparagus, toss gently and finish roasting. When the spears are cooked, top with about 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and run under the broiler until they pop, about 1 minute.
Finish with a teaspoon or two of soy sauce
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