Grandma’s Recipe of the Month: Asparagus with Toasted Breadcrumbs

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Asparagus with Toasted Bread Crumbs1

Asparagus is my favorite spring vegetable, and is just now coming into season here in San Diego. As a kid, however, I wouldn’t touch the stuff, so it was new to me when my mother served asparagus with toasted bread crumbs, a recipe she had learned from her mother.

My husband Larry raved about it and, from that moment, he always asks for his asparagus “with crumbs”, just as my mom served us ages ago.

On my own, I prefer to roast asparagus, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. But when I served my grandma “Moo Moo’s” recipe, folks seem to enjoy it. And I think the buttery, toasted panko make the dish more substantial.

This dish is so simple that it’s what I think of as “barely cooking”. These days, I tend to use the Japanese panko breadcrumbs, but any commercial, unseasoned breadcrumbs work well.

TIP: When choosing fresh asparagus, the thicker spears are more flavorful than the pencil-sized bundles. Also, if you use walnut or grape seed oil instead of butter, I think this can be considered a vegan recipe, at least according to the ingredients in my panko breadcrumbs.

Grandma's Recipe of the Month: Asparagus with Toasted Breadcrumbs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
My grandmother's recipe for asparagus, my favorite spring vegetable.
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • ½ Meyer lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup panko
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • pinch of ground pepper
  • lemon zest curls (optional garnish)
  1. Using a large skillet, fill with bottom ½-inch deep with water. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the asparagus, squeeze with the lemon, then add the squeezed fruit to the pan. Cover, lower heat to medium-low and cook until the asparagus is just fork tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. While the asparagus is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet, then add the panko, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes over medium-low heat. The panko browns quickly.
  4. Serve the asparagus and top each serving with an equal amount of the toasted breadcrumbs.


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15 Responses to Grandma’s Recipe of the Month: Asparagus with Toasted Breadcrumbs

  1. sippitysup March 5, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    I’m so glad to see fat spring sprigs here. Those are the good one the early spears. People call those thin woody asparagus spears “baby”. But they are from the more mature plant. GREG

    • Liz March 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks, that you agree –

  2. Oui, Chef March 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    You have local asparagus already? You’re killing me, Liz. I’m not even dreaming of asparagus yet, but when I do, it will have your toasted panko on it.

    • Liz March 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      Just remember, I am an East Coast girl – and the snow storm approaches. Be safe.

  3. The Wimpy Vegetarian March 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I love asparagus, and completely agree with everyone on the fatter ones. I can eat them raw, I love them so much. Love the simplicity of this dish – and my favorite way to enjoy asparagus ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re back in snow country for the week, and had a little snow storm this morning. Yay!

    • Liz March 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Stay warm in the mountains – think your snow will bring rain our way in a day or so –

  4. sallybr March 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Perfect dish! I made something similar a couple of years ago, but my photos turned out so bad, I did not blog. And forgot all about it… Good thing you nudge me to make it now that asparagus will be arriving at the market

    beautiful photo!

    • Liz March 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks so much – I really struggle taking shots of food – much harder than cooking ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Lynda - TasteFood March 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Oh I love this with the panko and lemon! Bring on the asparagus!

  6. Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    This will be on our table many times this spring and summer – guaranteed. I am a roasting lover too but seems like this recipe would work fine either way.

    • Liz March 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      So easy-peasy, Beth – thanks.

  7. heidi defaut March 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    LOVE asparagus any which way! will try this later in the week. we’ve been having lots of it in lots of ways. and it makes me feel like spring really is on it’s way.

    • Liz March 8, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Yes, the perfect spring vegetable for sure –

  8. Jayne March 10, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    Gorgeous photo! I love asparagus, although it will be a while before we get them here! Much easier to find the thicker stems so that’s great too!

  9. cooking rookie April 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    I just made this asparagus – so good! I used coconut oil for frying the crumbs and added a little garlic powder. They turned out delicious. Great for topping zucchini or fish too. I will be making this again. Thank you for the recipe!

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