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Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Asparagus alla Milanese

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


In Italian vegetable markets, bunches of bright green asparagus in various thicknesses are one of the first signs that winter has finally given way to spring. The thinnest spears are gathered wild in the countryside, their scarcity and brief seasonality translating into a relatively high price tag. Wild asparagus is a prized ingredient in frittatas and the occasional pasta sauce. Medium-stalked cultivated asparagus is used for this dish, which, though meatless, is considered substantial enough to be offered as a main course, accompanied with a green salad.

Whenever you have leftover day-old bread — preferably a baguette or rustic white loaf — cut it into slices, place on a baking sheet and dry out the slices in the oven at 300°F for about 10 minutes. Process the toasted bread in a food processor to make crumbs. Store the crumbs in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. This ancient recipe, which has remained modern, was, it is said, a great favorite of Julius Caesar

Asparagus alla Milanese

Serves 4


  • 1 lb. medium asparagus spears, tough ends removed
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  • Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil.
  • Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and divide the spears evenly among warmed plates.
  • In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Break each egg into the pan, taking care not to puncture the yolk or let the egg whites overlap. Cook for 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water into the pan, cover and cook until the whites are solid but the yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes more.
  • Using a spatula, carefully drape 1 fried egg over each serving of asparagus. Sprinkle each serving liberally with the cheese and serve immediately.  

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  www.chefwalter.com / http://www.chefwalter.blog.com/


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