Yes, you read the title correctly...asparagus fries. If you know me well, then you know that vegetables are not big on my list of things to eat. Sure, I will eat a salad, will stomach green beans and will occasionally munch on an ear of corn. But, broccoli, squash, cauliflower or PEAS....that is a form of torture. However, with this dish, I am willing to compromise...but I will get to that later.
Dear Daughter was on a school trip to Brugge on Saturday. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Well, you can't do that in Coronado!" She had a wonderful time but we did not get home from picking her up until 1:00 a.m. Needless to say, she was exhausted and I knew that anything planned for Sunday would have to be low-key. Upon waking her up at noon (!), we loaded the car and made the short trip (8 miles) to the nearby town of Enghien. I thought that checking out a local chateau and having a picnic on the grounds would enable us to have a tiny adventure. It was a beautiful day, so a lazy picnic was in order.
The GPS had us arriving at the back of the chateau grounds. We drove down an unpaved road with the feeling that something was not quite right. There were no signs; no guidance for parking; no chateau. We did find a lake and noticed that many people had the same ideal...lazy picnics. We also realized that we were driving on WALKING paths! I could see the international incident coming...I could see the headlines...all I wanted was a nice lunch with my family...not this.
Luckily, a nice man stopped us and in half English, half French, we learned that the entrance to the chateau grounds was through the village. We backtracked and eventually found the entrance. We also found that in order to enter, we had to pay a fee of six euros because we were not residents of the town. Dear Husband was fuming at this point. We had illegally driven onto the grounds and were charged nothing. We were now entering legally and had to pay.
DH quickly found us a spot on the lake (hey, didn't we just drive past this?) and we had a nice, simple meal. It was "no carb" day so baguettes were out. But the first local strawberries of the season were absolutely delicious. We explored the park as the chateau is not open to the public. The gardens were simple yet the entire area was impressive with its lake, chapel tower and walking paths. There was even a canal almost one kilometer in length that was built to host mock navel engagements! Not a bad Sunday adventure.
We had our first dinner on the patio. I love eating dinner outside; it feels a bit like being on a holiday. We set out a huge platter of thinly sliced carne asada, grilled peppers and onions and guacamole in the center of the table and leisurely grazed. We nearly forgot that the weekend was over. Now back to the vegetables...
The star of the meal were the Asparagus Fries. They were so easy and so incredibly good. While they will not take the place of the Belgian frites that Dear Daughter had in Brugge, they have to be good if I am going to eat them, much less write about them. Added bonus...they are low-carb as well.
Bread crumbs (homemade or Panko): DO NOT use store bought bread crumbs as they are ground too fine.
Parmesan cheese, grated by hand
1 T mayo
3 egg whites
asparagus (I used very narrow, green ones)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Mix breadcrumbs with some chopped parsley and a good amount of grated Parmesan cheese.
Mix together mayo and egg whites.
Dip asparagus into egg mixture and coat thoroughly.
Dredge in bread crumbs mixture. Really get them covered.
Place on a pan so that they are not touching each other. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Roast for 15-20 minutes. I served them with a garlic mayo.