The husband asked what I was making for dinner. "Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Fries. Wait, wait, wait!! They're not real fries; they're baked. They're not actually fried at all. I'm just making Crispy Parmesan Asparagus. That's it. Not fries."
I was afraid of over-promising and under-delivering on the "fries" aspect of the asparagus. The husband loves fried food. If he was expecting the asparagus to taste like french fries, I worried that he'd be sorely disappointed.
Well, I had no reason to be concerned. The man went back for seconds. On baked Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Fries. I'd call that a success.
Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Fries
Adapted from Closet Cooking
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika, divided
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out three shallow bowls. Place flour in the first bowl. In the second bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. In the third bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Evenly divide the paprika between flour and breadcrumbs and season both generously with salt and pepper. Mix to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Dredge a few spears of asparagus in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Roll in breadcrumbs, pressing to help them adhere. Place asparagus on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining asparagus. If there are any breadcrumbs left in the bowl, sprinkle them on top of the asparagus. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until breadcrumbs are golden and asparagus is crisp-tender.