Cheesy Asparagus Fries – The Spice & Tea Exchange

Cheesy Asparagus Fries

Have you ever been to The Spice & Tea Exchange?  They have locations in 26 states, but I was unfamiliar with them until one recently opened near me. And I am now making up for lost time!

I’m not much of a tea fan, but I love me some spices. All those sugars? I get palpitations just thinking about them. So many fun creations just waiting for those sugars.

The Spice & Tea Exchange (*TSTE) in Idaho Springs is very cozy and smells fantastic. They have a wide assortment of jarred spices and teas (go figure) – and they let you sample. Free smells too.

When you enter The Spice & Tea Exchange® you’ll step back in time to the era of an 18th Century Trading Post. Adorned with heavy wooden beams, nautical décor, antique fixtures and rustic displays, our stores are truly unique. Your senses will be delighted with the colorful sights and smells of our spices, herbs, gourmet blends and exotic teas. We encourage you to “Find Your Way to Flavor®!” and let curiosity guide you as you explore The Spice & Tea Exchange®.    — The Spice & Tea Exchange

 

I usually lose my enthusiasm by the time I get back home from most grocery shopping excursions. I have been known to get all worked up about some spices, which eventually get shoved to the back of a cupboard – never again to see the harsh overhead light of the kitchen.

Which is why I love the little recipe cards they have at TSTE. They have a large selection of recipes packed into a display rack – which they switch out seasonally. (Complimentary I hope, since I grabbed a handful of them the first time I went in).

When I’m in there I envision myself whipping up all sorts of culinary creations – and I have those recipe cards as ticklers for when I get home. Just little reminders to use the spices to make what’s on the card – or something entirely different.

Each recipe calls for at least one spice from TSTE, (because they would be seriously bad at marketing if it didn’t). Obviously they know what they’re doing, because every time I see “TSTE” I read it as “TASTE”. But that could just be me and that “speed reading” course I had back in high school.

I finally got around to trying a quick and easy appetizer recipe last week. And we have a winner straight out of the gate! Cheesy Asparagus Fries have definitely made it to the repeat list.

Asparagus Fries

I made a double batch of the Cheesy Asparagus Fries and still have more than enough left in my little packet of *TSTE Popcorn Seasoning Spice Blend to try it on some Cheesy Avocado Fries.

The seasoning has a great flavor. Combined with the crunch of the Panko and the Parmesan, I think it is more satisfying that a bag of chips. And you’re getting your veggies as a bonus!

Who knows – I may even try the *TSTE Popcorn Seasoning Spice Blend on some POPCORN.

Asparagus Fries

The Cheesy Asparagus Fries are wonderful on their own merit, but I’m pretty dippy, so I first tried them slathered in a bottled chipotle mayo. Just because it was already handy. That was okay, but definitely did not do the Cheesy Asparagus Fries justice. This was a job for Yum Yum Sauce. You know, that slightly tangy, fantabulous concoction they serve alongside hibachi-style dinners at Japanese restaurants.

Yum Yum Sauce is made with just a few simple ingredients that I usually always have on hand. It’s better when you whisk them up and let all the flavors co-mingle and do their thing behind a closed fridge door. But when your taste buds are all amped up and jonesing for some Cheesy Asparagus Fries, there is just no time for that. Dump ’em in, whip it up and you are noshing on still warm Cheesy Asparagus Fries dipped in THE yummiest sauce within minutes.

Asparagus Fries

INGREDIENTS:

 

  • 1 Pound Asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 Cup Panko Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons *TSTE Popcorn Seasoning Spice Blend

DIRECTIONS:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF and cover a large baking sheet with foil, sprayed with nonstick cooking oil.
  2. Put flour in Ziploc bag/covered bowl/paper bag, (whatever is most convenient). Add asparagus and shake until vegetables are flour-coated.
  3. Transfer asparagus to beaten eggs and thoroughly drench.
  4. Empty flour container and replace with panko, cheese and spice. Give it a few really good shakes until asparagus is well-coated with panko mixture.
  5. Spread single layer of vegetables on baking sheet and bake 10 -12 minutes; until coating is golden.
  6. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  7. ENJOY!

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