Asparagus Milanese is a recipe from northern Italy made with boiled asparagus served with fried eggs and topped with grated Parmigiano cheese. A very simple dish but with a unique flavor!
Few and simple ingredients that must necessarily be of great quality. Fresh (and not frozen!) asparagus, fresh eggs, medium aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or alternatively Grana Padano DOP.
Together with Saffron Risotto and Veal Cutlet, Asparagus Milanese is one of the typical dishes of Milanese cuisine.
This dish belongs to the Lombard peasant tradition as many dishes made with vegetables and eggs such as Torta Pasqualina and Eggs en Cocotte with Leeks, which later became fine dishes.
All varieties of asparagus are good for this recipe, from the thin wild asparagus, with its more intense flavor, to the large, fleshy white asparagus.
Asparagus Milanese is a tasty, easy-to-make dish that’s great for any occasion, whether casual or elegant.
You can serve asparagus and egg Milanese with slices of bread, as an appetizer or as a main dish.
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How to Make Asparagus Milanese
- Prep Time:10 Min
- Cook Time:30 Min
- Servings: 2
- 1,5 kg (about 3 pounds) of asparagus
- 4 eggs
- 20 g (1 tablespoon) of unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano DOP
- fine salt
- freshly ground black pepper
What You May Need to Make Milanese Style Asparagus
Although this recipe is very simple, you need to use the tools necessary to get an excellent result.
First of all you need a pot for cooking asparagus. In fact it’s necessary that they remain vertical during cooking. So, have a look to this asparagus pot with a special basket to drain the asparagus after cooking.
To fry the eggs we recommend a non-stick pan and a flexible spatula to remove the eggs gently without breaking the yolk.
There are some nice eggs rings that you can use to cook several eggs together in the same pan keeping them separate that give the eggs a perfect shape.
There are also non-stick cooker pan with egg spaces already separated. This can also be a nice gift idea for a friend of yours who loves to cook!
Step 1) – Wash and clean the asparagus, remove the hard parts and peel the stems.
Step 2) – Boil the asparagus in plenty of salted water. Depending on the thickness of the stem and your taste, cook them for 15 to 20 minutes.
Use a tall, narrow pot so that the asparagus stands upright while cooking with their tips out of the water. This way the stalks cook in water, while the more tender and fragile asparagus tips steam.
Step 3) – In the meantime, melt some butter in a pan and pour in the eggs, making sure that the yolk remains intact. Turn off the heat when the egg white has set and the yolk is still soft.
It’s better to cook the eggs one at a time, maximum two, in a large saucepan so that they do not stick together during cooking.
Step 4) – Drain the asparagus and arrange them on a serving dish. Cover them with grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano and lay the eggs on top. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Finish with a drizzle of melted butter (whatever is left over from cooking the eggs) and some more grated cheese.
The asparagus, eggs and butter will need to be very hot to slightly melt the cheese.
Serve the asparagus Milanese style hot with slices of Italian crusty bread.
Enjoy Asparagus Milanese as soon as they are ready.
You can boil the asparagus the day before and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
In this case, however, you may want to heat the asparagus for a minute in the same pan with the butter from cooking the eggs.
Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano?
The authentic recipe of eggs and asparagus Milanese style wants Grana Padano cheese, because it is a typical product of the area.
Obviously also the more famous and appreciated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is fine and does not change the final result of the recipe.
These two cheeses are very similar to each other and represent a real delicacy. They hold the record of Italian products famous all over the world.
But what is the difference between Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano besides the place of origin of course?
The difference is that Parmigiano Reggiano is made of a part of whole milk and a part of skimmed milk, whereas Grana Padano contains only skimmed milk, therefore it is slightly less fat.
Asparagus Milanese Style: Variants
Although asparagus Milanese is a very simple dish with few ingredients, there are some very interesting variations of this recipe. Let’s see some of them!
Asparagus Milanese with no Butter and Cheese
If you can not take dairy products for intolerances or simply to have a lighter dish, you can replace the butter with a drop of oil. Also to flavor the dish, instead of cheese, you can use herbs such as thyme and marjoram.
Baked Asparagus and Eggs alla Milanese
You can opt for baking both the asparagus and the eggs, again to have a lighter dish.
Take an oven dish, place the asparagus next to each other with a drizzle of oil and cover with a glass of water, bake at 180°C ( 350°F) for about 15 minutes.
When the asparagus is softened, add salt and pepper. Then crack the eggs on top of the vegetables and bake for another 5 minutes or until the egg white is cooked.
Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese or herbs to taste.
Super Tasty Asparagus Milanese Style
If you like strong flavors, you can use more flavorful cheeses and substitute melted gorgonzola or grated pecorino romano for the parmigiano/grana padano cheese.
Asparagus alla Milanese: a Gourmet Touch
How to transform a simple and fast traditional country dish into a gourmet dish? Add some truffle shavings to the finished, steaming dish and enjoy!
Variety of Asparagus
To make the recipe for asparagus alla milanese, all varieties of asparagus are good.
From the green asparagus, which are the most common and well known, to the rarer and more precious white asparagus, which in Italy are cultivated mainly in Lombardy and Piedmont.
The white asparagus grows underground. Without exposure to sunlight, for this reason they remain white. Generally white asparagus have a less intense taste than green ones.
Green asparagus, on the other hand, are cultivated on earthy soil and acquire their color thanks to the effect that the sun’s rays have on chlorophyll.
Then there are wild asparagus, thinner, with a very intense and slightly bitter taste.
They grow in the countryside, in uncultivated meadows, in the Mediterranean scrub, in the woods of central and southern Italy. In the north they are rarer and prefer the hills and areas with a milder climate.
The best period for harvesting wild asparagus is from March to June.
It is preferable to pick them at the beginning of the season because they are more tender. They tend to become hard over time.
A Bit of History…
Asparagus alla milanese is a typical dish of the Lombard capital city, surely of peasant origin and very ancient.
In Italy the cultivation of asparagus spread since the Roman times. Thanks to Cato in his De Agriculture and to Pliny in his Naturalis Historia, we know the cultivation techniques and that it was called the “king of vegetables”.
It’s said, however, that the recipe of asparagus Milanese was also used to pay homage to the Triple Alliance, the military pact signed in 1882 between Germany, Austria and Italy.
At the time, this dish was renamed “Asparagus Bismarck“, in honor of the German Iron Chancellor, who loved eggs, so much that he was capable of eating up to 12 of them a day!