These sandwiches were inspired by my love for crispy-crunchy New Orleans Po-Boys in soft, toasted buns. So I set out to create a version using crispy-crunchy asparagus. The result was a winning combo of Asparagus & Ham to create hoagies featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Lemon-Pepper was a seasoning we cooked with a lot when I was growing up. I hadn’t been using it much, though my taste buds naturally crave lemon with roasted asparagus. I resurrected lemon-pepper by tossing it into crunchy, sturdy Panko crumbs and breading fresh asparagus spears – it was heavenly coming out of the oven. The addition of salty ham was the perfect pair for a sandwich. I sometimes fry up Benton’s country ham when I want to be indulgent. Don’t be scared of the fresh mint here…use it generously. I wonderfully brings these hoagies together. Enjoy!
Total Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes 4 Hoagies
For the Lemon Aioli
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove very thinly sliced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Asparagus Hoagies
- 1½ cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 20 asparagus spears (about 12 oz.), washed and trimmed
- 4 hoagie rolls, split
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 4 slices prosciutto or serrano ham
- 12-16 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a shallow dish combine panko, lemon-pepper seasoning and garlic powder. Place the cornstarch in a second shallow dish (I like to use a 10”x13” baking dish). Place the eggs in a third shallow dish, like another 10”x13” baking dish.
Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a 15” x 10” x 1” baking pan. Place the pan in the oven. Meanwhile, dip the asparagus spears, one at a time, in the eggs to moisten. Dip them into the cornstarch to fully coat. Dip in eggs again; then dip in the panko mixture to fully coat. Place on a clean baking sheet while coating the remaining spears.
Transfer all the spears to the hot pan in the oven. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake 10 minutes or until golden, turning once.
Meanwhile, evenly spread the cut sides of rolls with mayonnaise (not the aioli). Place on a baking sheet cut sides up. Broil for 5 minutes or until toasted. Cool slightly.
To assemble the sandwiches, open the rolls and spread each side with the lemon aioli. Arrange the prosciutto and asparagus on one side of the sandwich. Top with mint and chives.