Thursday, 7 March 2013

Baked or Fried...That is the Question

I've always been more of a meat and potatoes kind of girl...don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed salads but was never a huge fan of cooked veggies.  Then I met Aaron, he loves veggies, his favourite, asparagus, which of course is one veggie I wouldn't touch, I mean people call it ditch weed for crying out loud and my dad always called it dog pee sticks.  The good wife that I am though I started looking for ways to make it that would entice my palate to eat more of it, and go figure, I've found a few ways that I'll actually have seconds of:) 

One of my favourite ways is to marinade the asparagus in Thousand Islands and then throw it on the grill, my friend/wife, it's a long story, don't ask, Jenn showed me this and it's another reason I love her.  It's so crunchy and, well, grilled...grilling makes everything better.  As much as I love to BBQ, I'm not a fan of doing it in 4 feet of snow with a wind chill of 20 below, I'm exaggerating a bit but you get the point, it's just not going to happen so I've had to come up with some alternate methods.  I tried roasting it under the broiler with the dressing but that came out a soggy mess, however, doused in EVOO and sprinkled with a lot of garlic powder is pretty awesome. 

For tonight, I wanted to try something different, something crunchy, tasty and outside the box.  This is where my iPad, some paper, a pencil and creative thinking comes into play.  You know what asparagus kind of looks like, green french fries, that's right I'm making asparagus fries, and while I'm all creative and stuff, I'm going to do some baked in the oven and some pan fried to see which method works better for me...if I'm lucky, they'll both be awesome and I won't have to fight with Connor to eat his veggies!!

Crispy Asparagus Fries
(adapted from How Sweet it IsBaker Lady)

1/2 lb Asparagus
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/4 c. Plain Bread Crumbs
1/3 c. Panko Breadcrumbs
1/8 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Dried Tarragon
Pinch of Onion Powder
2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

I started by preheating the oven to 425F.

Next, I set up the asparagus assembly line using shallow bowls.  In bowl number one was the flour and I seasoned it with some salt and pepper, bowl number two was the beaten egg and finally in bowl number three was the plain breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, tarragon, onion powder and some salt and pepper.

I trimmed the bottom inch or so off the asparagus and gave it a quick wash and then I  just shook it off a bit, you want some of the water to stay so the flour will stick. 

Into the flour
First, I rolled each piece of asparagus in the flour, coating it as much as I could and then gave it a good roll in the egg.  Then it went into the breadcrumb mixture, and I rolled it around really well and pressed the breadcrumb mixture in as best I could.

 Bread Crumb Mixture

 For the asparagus that's going in the oven I took a shallow baking sheet and placed a wire rack on top that I had given a quick spray with olive oil.  I placed the asparagus on the rack and popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Ready for the oven
Next up was the asparagus to be fried.  I heated a large skillet over medium high heat and added the EVOO.  When it was nice and hot, it shimmers a bit when it's ready if that makes sense, I added the asparagus but only as much as it would hold in a single layer.  I fried them, turning them when they were golden, about 4-6 minutes.

 Into the Frying Pan


Once they were done I served them up with Epicure's awesome Roasted Garlic Aioli and they were awesome:)  We all liked both equally, even Connor and I would definitely make them again. 

On top of the awesome Crispy Asparagus Fries we had Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Herbed Ricotta and a concoction of Sprouted Rice and Quinoa with Toasted Almonds and Veggies that I came up with today. 

This has toasted almonds and sauteed celery,
carrots, green onions and garlic in it...
so good and good for you too!!

My only problem...does your kitchen look like this after dinner


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