In her charming–and aptly titled–collection of recipes known as Vegetarian, author Alice Hart doesn’t say anything about this recipe. She doesn’t really need to say anything. Her simple and savvy strategy is, we think, pretty self-explanatory. Not to mention stunning. Use as much or as little butter as you please.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Asparagus by Alice Note
Asparagus not in season? No brioche to be found? No problem. Challah or croissants make swell stand-ins for buttery brioche. And virtually any sturdy green vegetable–we’re thinking green beans or sugar snaps or even broccoli (florets and stalks)–would work swell in place of spring spears. We haven’t heard this from the lovely Alice, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for this recipe (which we always refer to as Asparagus by Alice). But somehow we have a feeling she’d be okay with whatever swap the situation demands.
Asparagus with Brioche Crumbs
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 10 M
- Serves 4
- 1 bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon or so unsalted butter
- 1/2 to 1 cup day-old brioche crumbs (simply pulse day-old brioche or croissants in a food processor until fine crumbs form)
- Grated zest from about 1/2 small lemon, plus more for garnish if desired
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
- 1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil or prepare a steamer set over but not touching simmering water. Cook the asparagus spears until just tender or done to your liking, 1 1/2 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of the spears. Drain the spears and pat them dry. Transfer the asparagus to a platter.
- 2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter for starters in a skillet over medium heat. Add the brioche crumbs along with the lemon zest and cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are golden and lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. (You may need to add more butter, depending on just how buttery you like your bread crumbs. If your bread crumbs become a single mass of buttery goodness, you got a little overzealous with the butter and now need to add more crumbs.) Transfer the crumbs to a plate and season with salt and, if desired, pepper.
- 3. Scatter the buttery bread crumbs over the asparagus and strew with more lemon zest, if desired. Escort the asparagus to the table and accept accolades.