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Staff Meals Part II: Danny Meyer’s Roasted Asparagus Gratin

Asparagus spears get broiled with mayo and grated cheese.

If there’s any restaurateur noted for impeccable service, it’s New York’s Danny Meyer.

The CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer has founded and overseen some of Manhattan’s most acclaimed establishments, including Union Square Cafe, Grammercy Tavern, Maialino, The Modern and many more. He’s even authored a book on the art of hospitality.

So, it’s probably no surprise that Meyer takes staff meals seriously. After all, it’s a way to nourish and care for the folks who work for him.

“Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals From Our Restaurants to Your Home” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) showcases just that. The new cookbook, of which I received a review copy, was written by Chef Michael Romano, culinary director for Union Square Hospitality Group, and Karen Stabiner, adjunct professor at Columbia’s graduate school of journalism.

It includes more than 150 dishes that have been served to staff at his restaurants. The book is arranged traditionally with chapters divided into soups, salads, seafood, drinks, desserts and the like.

Also included are a few favorites of the Meyer family household, including this simple recipe for “Danny Meyer’s Roasted Asparagus Gratin.”

Roasting is one of my go-to ways to enjoy asparagus because the heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the spears. This recipe takes it one step further by brushing the spears with mayonnaise, then sprinkling them with grated cheese before they go under the broiler.

The gussied-up spears are crunchy, savory and creamy with their golden, cheesy topper.

No doubt, you’ll feel well cared for, too, when this dish is set before you.

You’ll be hard pressed not to eat the entire pan, yourself.

Danny Meyer’s Roasted Asparagus Gratin

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends snapped off

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup finely grated Parmiginao-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange asparagus lengthwise, tips pointing in the same direction, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle oil and lemon juice over the asparagus and shake the dish to coat the stalks evenly. Season with salt and pepper and shake again.

Roast asparagus, shaking pan 2 or 3 times to redistribute the stalks, until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes (longer for thicker stalks). Remove from oven and preheat the broiler.

Spread mayonnaise evenly over asparagus, then sprinkle with the cheese. Broil, watching closely, until top has browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve.

From “Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals From Our Restaurants to Your Home” by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner

Yesterday: Wylie Dufresne’s Cashew and Fennel Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette For Staff Meals

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