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Asparagus
Mix it up by swapping in herbs like basil or chervil. Photo Credit: Renee Comet /USA WEEKEND. Food Styling by Lisa Cherkasky.

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The tasty topping in this recipe has nothing to do with champagne — it gets its name from the mimosa flower, which blooms in clusters of sunny yellow. Like the flower, the topping’s color screams spring, and its flavor and rich crumbly texture pairs perfectly with another symbol of the season: asparagus.

Made with grated egg, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and fresh parsley, the topping is an easy way to turn steamed asparagus into something special. It also adds a boost to any number of green vegetables, from broccoli to green beans. To mix it up, use tender herbs like cilantro, chervil, basil or tarragon instead of, or in addition to, the parsley. Like spring itself, this is a recipe that gives a basic vegetable a welcomed breath of fresh air.

Asparagus with Mimosa Topping

• 2 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
• Cooking spray
• 1 hard-boiled egg
• 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• ¼ tsp. salt
• Pinch of freshly ground pepper
• 2 bunches asparagus (about 2½ pounds), woody bottoms removed
• 1 Tb. water

Pulse the bread in a food processor until it becomes fine crumbs. Coat a medium non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat the pan over medium-high heat until hot. Lower the heat to medium, add the bread crumbs and then toast, tossing often until they are golden brown and toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Peel, then grate the egg, using the medium holes of a box grater or on a medium rasp grater. Combine the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

Place the asparagus in a large microwave-safe bowl with the water. Cover tightly and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle evenly with the topping.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 66 calories, 9g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 2g fat (1g saturated), 3.5g fiber, 27mg cholesterol, 151mg sodium

Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger. Copyright by Ellie Krieger.

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Ellie Krieger is host of the The Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” which airs on The Cooking Channel. The author of three cookbooks, her latest is Comfort Food Fix: Feel Good Favorites Made Healthy. A registered dietitian, Ellie has helped out with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and has teamed up with New York City SchoolFood initiative, where she created healthy, delicious menu items for students citywide.