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

Asparagus spears get broiled with mayo and grated cheese.

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.

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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  • I am fascinated by the sound of staff meals. There’s this gorgeous cookbook by a restaurateur here and while his food looks great, the most interesting chapter to me was the last chapter with the staff meals! I found more that I wanted to cook in that! πŸ˜€

  • Scrumptious! That is such a wonderful dish.



  • I looked at the first picture and thought to myself “this sounds like something I’d like so much that I’d eat the whole pan”, and lo and behold, there’s your comment at the bottom saying the exact same thing. πŸ™‚
    I eat ridiculous amounts of asparagus at this time of year, so this gratin is definitely calling my name. I’ll wait until I have company over, though, just so I don’t actually end up eating the whole pan for real.

  • Pingback: Food Gal » Blog Archiv » Staff Meals Part I: Wylie Dufresne’s Cashew and Fennel Salad

  • Another great staff meal cookbook! Lovely idea for roast asparagus – love the topping on this. Super recipe – thanks.

  • I’ve been out of foodie action, but hope to rejoin soon. In the meantime I wanted to stop by and say “

    They know a great blog when they see it. Oh I am in serious asparagus mode. I love this time of year. This gratin will be on my plate soon.

  • I’ve been roasting asparagus every week and we literally eat the entire pan. LOL.

  • Oooh, any kind of gratin always sounds (and looks) good. I like that this isn’t a whole baking tray of gratin and you can make as much as you plan to eat. I wonder if sprinkling some bread crumbs might also had a textural element? I’m going to try it!

  • What a lovely green asparagus bake! It surely looks excellent to me! πŸ™‚ Truly wonderful!

  • These sound wonderful and Danny Meyer is a great chef. In fact if I’m not mistaken I think he’s from St Louis.

  • Vicki: You know your restaurateurs. Danny Meyer was born in St. Louis. πŸ˜‰

  • Delicious and makes for a nice change of pace when asparagus is plentiful like now. Also makes for a more upscale presentation for a nicer meal, bonus, the broiling stage can wait until just before service.

  • Hi Reuel: I’m so glad you discovered this recipe and enjoyed it. My husband loves mayo on asparagus, and this is definitely a more fanciful way of doing that. For me, local asparagus season is always too short. I eat it just about every week until it disappears from the farmers markets.

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