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Gratin of Asparagus w/ Parmesan Cheese

Gratin of Asparagus w/ Parmesan Cheese

2 Pounds Thick Green Asparagus
6 Tablespoons Kings Organic Unsalted Butter
2/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/3 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs
4 Large Kings Organic Eggs, optional
One 1 1/2-2 Quart Oval Gratin Dish, buttered

1. Trim the tough ends from the asparagus and soak them in several changes of cold water, lifting them out each time, to eliminate any sand.

2. Bring a large pan of water to a boil and salt it.  Add the asparagus and cook until the water returns to a boil.  Continue to cook for about 30 seconds longer, less if the asparagus are thin.  Use a skimmer to list the asparagus from the water and let them cool on a pan covered with paper towels.

3. When you are ready to serve the asparagus, set a rack in the upper level of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

4. Arrange the cooled asparagus in the prepared dish.  Melt the butter in a small pan and allow it to color slightly.  Drizzle the butter, reserving a little to sprinkle on the crumbs, over the asparagus.

5. Top with the cheese and breadcrumbs.  Drizzle with the remaining butter.

6. Bake the asparagus until they are hot and the crumbs have colored, less than 10 minutes.

7. Serve immediately.

8. To serve with the eggs, use a little of the butter to fry each egg without turning it over.  As the eggs are cooked, arrange them on a plate being careful not to break the yolks.  Resume at step 4, then bake the asparagus until they are heated through.  Remove from the oven, top with the eggs, and continue with steps 5 and 6, but only bake until the crumbs have colored slightly, a couple of minutes, to avoid hardening the egg yolks.  Serve each portion of asparagus topped with one of the eggs.