Asparagus with Lemon-Mint Panko

Adapted from Radically Simple

The crispy breadcrumb topping on this dish makes it irresistible. I’ll make a double batch next time so we don’t have to elbow one another out to get the last serving. Even the kids wolfed down asparagus prepared this way.

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 lemon, grated zest and juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. If the stalks are very thick, you may want to use a vegetable peeler to remove some of the tough outer skin. I tested this recipe twice – once with thin stalks and once with peeled, thick stalks. It doesn’t really matter. What is more important is that you avoid overcooking them (more on that later).
  • In a shallow, high-sided skillet, bring a few inches of generously salted water to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook just until bright green and crisp tender. For slender stalks, this may be as few as 4 to 5 minutes. For thicker stalks, it could take as much as 6 to 7 minutes. Watch them very carefully and pull them from the hot water with tongs as soon as they can be lightly pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain and set aside.
  • While asparagus is cooking, heat olive oil and butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko crumbs and toast, stirring frequently. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and add the chopped mint.
  • Top asparagus with panko mixture and serve.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. I forgot to pick up mint when I made this the first time (with the thin stalks). I remembered to include it on the second run (with the thicker, peeled stalks) and the mint took this dish to the next level. However, if you don’t have it, know you’ll still end up with a terrific result.
  • 2. If you have whole wheat panko on hand, feel free to use it.
  • 3. I cannot overemphasize the importance of watching the asparagus carefully as you cook them. If they become too tender, you will ruin the dish entirely. I know this because I did it on one attempt and I spent the rest of the evening kicking myself. This is especially true if you use very young, skinny asparagus for this dish. There is no need to peel the skinny variety (you’d have nothing left!).

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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