Asparagus and Asiago Gratin

This asparagus and Asiago gratin couldn’t be quicker or easier. Asparagus is roasted in the oven and then bread crumbs, lemon zest, cheese, and parsley are sprinkled over the asparagus and roasted just until everything is crisp and buttery and lightly browned.

Oval casserole dish with spring asparagus and Asiago gratin, topped with coarse bread crumbs

Spring asparagus is a lovely, lovely thing. Yet many of us long ago lost touch with the fact that spring really ought to be redundant in conjunction with asparagus. Think about it. Those skinny, bendy, grassy-smelling spears show up at the farmers market only during–you guessed it–spring, as opposed to those stocky or shriveled bundles lashed together with purple rubber bands and plonked in a bin of stinky water at the supermarket come mid-January. Still, should you find yourself not quite able to hold out for actual spring asparagus, this recipe from one of our favorite cookbook authors stealthily conceals all manner of out-of-season vegetal sins. One last thing. The gratin turns out just as lovely minus the bread crumbs, so take note, those of you who eschew gluten or embrace Passover.–Renee Schettler

*What can I substitute for Asiago fresco?

This asparagus gratin recipe calls for Asiago fresco rather than the more commonly found Asiago you might be used to seeing at your cheese counter. Asiago fresco or (pressato) is a semi-soft cheese with largish, irregular-shaped holes. A thin and elastic crust with soft, buttery, white-yellowish interior that has a taste reminiscent of cream or fresh milk, fresco is the youngest version of Asiago cheese. It tastes sweet, buttery, delicate, and tangy and has a slightly, salty aftertaste. Search out young Asiago, if you can, but if not—Swiss, mild white Cheddar or Fontina will all work. Of course, aged Asiago will too, but won’t give you the creaminess of a younger cheese and it will pack a wallop more salt, so act accordingly.

Asparagus and Asiago Gratin

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 10 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in a large baking dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss the spears gently to coat with the oil.

In a bowl, whisk together the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of pepper. Drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and stir until well mixed. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the asparagus. 

Bake, uncovered, until the asparagus is just tender and the topping is melted and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

Drizzle the asparagus with some lemon juice and serve hot, straight from the baking dish, or arrange on a lovely little gratin dish to take to the table. Originally published March 28, 2012.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

What a delectable way to serve that fresh picked spring asparagus! I'd never tried roasted asparagus, having aways believed what could be better than simple asparagus dripping with lemon butter? This asparagus and Asiago gratin recipe was quick and easy to fix and mouthwateringly good as well.

The recipe was clearly written, easy to follow, and the result was a dish that could be served at any company meal and could be doubled and tripled easily depending on the size of your party. We all loved it!

This spring asparagus and Asiago gratin is delicious and easy. I love how the cheese gets crisp when it melts against the baking dish. Mmm...like fricco. I’d bet the cheese and breadcrumb mixture could elevate other vegetables when asparagus is not in season. Perhaps cauliflower, broccoli, even frozen artichoke hearts would be delicious, too.

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Comments

  1. Gonna try thiss tonight but was woundering if I could use mozzarella would be just as good? Thank you

    1. Cyndi, if you have mozzarella on hand and want to try it, that seems good enough reason to me to try it. It’s going to be ever so slightly less complex (not to mention less salty) in taste and a little more gooey in texture, but not in a bad way. So give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

  2. A perfectly lovely way to enjoy the first fresh spring spears. And one that will most definitely grace our Easter menu.

    1. Gary, it may seem fussy, but over the years I’ve found that the simplest and most efficient way to thoroughly coat each and every spear–which prevents the asparagus from drying out in a hot oven–is to arrange the asparagus in a single layer BEFORE tossing with olive oil. After I drizzle with olive oil, I don’t toss them haphazardly, which would be rather pointless after taking the time to arrange them in a single layer. Instead I turn the spears to coat them, much like a log being rolled in water. [Please note, LC in no way condones or supports the massacre of trees for commercial gain.] Of course, Gary, you can oil your asparagus however you please.

      1. Want to easily and evenly coat asparagus with oil? Try this: pile the spears in a loaf pan in one direction; drizzle on the oil (and even S&P if using); pick up the pan and give it 5-10 seconds of side-to-side shaking. The spears roll around and spread themselves with oil. Then simply dump the spears onto a baking sheet for roasting or onto a grate for grilling.

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