Monday, May 10, 2010

Roasted Asparagus with Green Garlic & Panko Recipe

Roasted Asparagus with Green Garlic & Panko
This past Saturday at the Ferry Plaza farmer's market I found lots of harbingers of Spring, all green--asparagus, green garlic, artichokes and even obscure ones like wild radish rapini. I bought a bit of each. The rapini I will blanch then probably toss with dressing or pasta and the artichokes I will surely roast. But I picked up the asparagus and the green garlic without any specific plans.

Green garlic is milder than regular garlic and tastes and looks a bit like large bulbous scallions. There are lots of recipes that use green garlic as an accent in soup, sauces, risotto and pizza. You can chop and saute them the same way you would any other green onion. Because green garlic is in season at the same time as asparagus it is often paired with it and frankly every asparagus and green garlic recipe sounds great to me. Both are springy and green but one more earthy and grassy, the other sweet and oniony.

A typical way to use green garlic is to make a pesto. You can cook it and then puree it or puree it raw. But if you use it raw, it will have a bite! I made a raw pesto and then coated the asparagus with it and then dipped it into panko and roasted it until the panko was golden brown, the asparagus cooked through and the green garlic mellowed and sweet. I was inspired by a number of other recipes to create this one and I'm pleased with the way it turned out. It's good as a side dish with something simple like roast chicken and rice.

The recipe makes way more pesto than you need for a big bunch of asparagus, but use the rest with hot pasta or use it to coat fish or seafood and then top with crumbs or panko. You could also use on toast or dab it on goat cheese. A bit of the pesto would be good swirled in soup as well, especially asparagus soup!

Roasted Asparagus with Green Garlic & Panko
Serves about 4


1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup stalks and bulbs green garlic, trimmed and chopped (about 3) remove dark green bits
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 bunch medium asparagus spears (about 16 stalks), trimmed, the bottom 1/3 peeled with a vegetable peeler


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Oil a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. In a blender or food processor, puree green garlic with olive oil, lemon juice and salt until smooth. Place 1/2 cup panko in a 9x13 baking pan. Place the asparagus on a cutting board or clean surface and rub with about 1/4 cup pesto or enough to coat. Place the asparagus in the baking dish and cover with the remaining panko. Carefully transfer asparagus to prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until browned, about 15 minutes. Serve right away.