This recipe works best with 1/2-inch-thick spears. Work quickly when tossing the asparagus with the egg whites, as the salt will rapidly begin to deflate the whites.
2 pounds medium-thick asparagus, trimmed
Salt and pepper
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (11/2 cups)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon honey
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Using fork, poke holes all over asparagus. Toss asparagus with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes on paper towel–lined baking sheet.
2. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup Parmesan, panko, melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Transfer half of Parmesan mixture to shallow dish and reserve remaining mixture. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites with honey on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg white mixture into 13-by-9-inch baking dish and toss asparagus with egg white mixture. Working with 1 spear at a time, dredge half of asparagus in Parmesan mixture and transfer to baking sheet. Refill shallow dish with reserved Parmesan mixture and repeat with remaining half of asparagus.
3. Bake asparagus until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and continue to bake until cheese is melted and panko is golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer to platter. Serve.
Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.