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Enjoy Pure Michigan asparagus with Gina's casserole

'Tis the season, for yummy asparagus!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Gina Ferwerda has a modern twist on a classic: Green bean casserole. 

But, Gina's update swaps out those beans, for asparagus.  It's got cheese, a bit of garlic, and everything that makes casserole delicious.

Fried Asparagus Ribbons

  • Peanut or canola oil (for frying)
  • 2 cups asparagus shavings
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided

Cheesy Asparagus Casserole

  • 2 pounds fresh Michigan asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 8 ounces chopped button mushrooms
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 ounces cooking sherry (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Smoked Gouda cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place asparagus ribbons in a bowl and cover with milk. Let soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full with salted water and bring to a boil. Add cut up asparagus and blanch for 1-2 minutes, then plunge beans into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, add bacon and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
  5. Add butter, onions, mushrooms and garlic to a large skillet over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until mushroom liquid starts to reabsorb. Add flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add sherry and cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring. Stir in chicken stock and heavy cream. Cook until it thickens, then add seasoning and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Gently fold asparagus and bacon into mixture and stir until everything is well-incorporated. Add asparagus mixture to a greased baking dish then top with shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly.
  7. For the asparagus ribbons, add the oil to a deep, heavy pot 2-3 inches deep. Heat oil to 350ºF.
  8. Whisk together the flour, pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Dredge the asparagus spears in the flour mixture and then carefully add the spears to the hot oil, making sure they do not clump together. Fry for 3-4 minutes, turning as needed until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over hot spears.
  9. Remove the casserole from the oven and top with Fried Asparagus Ribbons.

You can find more of Gina's recipes on her blog, Nom News, or in her cookbook "Meals from the Mitten."

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