Who doesn’t love baked asparagus with cheese sauce? This Skillet Asparagus Supreme features beautiful fresh, roasted asparagus and cheese, all dressed up in a creamy cheese sauce, with a cheddar and buttered panko topping.
It’s finally local asparagus season here and I couldn’t be happier! Asparagus is such a versatile vegetable, delicious raw or cooked. Enjoy shaved, raw asparagus in salads (use your vegetable peeler) or simply steamed.
You can also quickly and simply roast asparagus on a sheet pan in a 400 F. oven, with a bit of butter and Parmesan. Finally, add cooked asparagus to casseroles, stir-fries or noodle dishes. You can also freeze asparagus by blanching it for a few minutes in boiling water, rinse under cold water, dry and then freeze.
Local asparagus is available only for a short time, so it’s well worth stocking up now and enjoying it all kinds of ways or freezing to extend the season!
When I’m in the mood for doing something a little special with asparagus, this Skillet Baked Asparagus with Cheese Sauce is my go-to dish. This dish tops fresh asparagus with a quick, creamy cheddar sauce, then is topped with a buttered panko topping, some more cheddar cheese and a few poppy seeds for colour and flavour. It’s then popped into the oven for about 20 minutes, to deliver perfectly cooked asparagus in a lovely creamy sauce and crispy topping.
This dish is easy enough for any night, but special enough for entertaining! (You could easily prepare this ahead in the skillet and then cover and refrigerate and bake when ready.)
Cook’s Notes for Skillet Baked Asparagus with Cheese Sauce
You could prepare this ahead by preparing it right up to the baking part, but instead allow to cool slightly, cover well and refrigerate. Simply bake when ready, allowing a few extra minutes if it’s cold from the fridge when it goes into the oven.
A cast-iron skillet works really well for this dish, but any baking dish would work, as long as your asparagus can lay nice and flat.
Skillet Asparagus Supreme
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus short enough to fit flat in your skillet, trimmed of woody ends
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- 2 1/2 Tbsp chicken stock or broth
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 3/4 cup panko crumbs
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepared asparagus and lay flat in an oven-proof skillet or baking dish.
In a medium saucepan, prepare sauce. Melt butter over medium heat. Add the cornstarch/water mixture, stock, salt, pepper and milk and cook, stirring, until hot and thickened. Stir in cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Pour sauce over asparagus (I like to pour it more over the middle, so that the tops and bottoms of the asparagus poke through a bit).
Make the topping by combining the panko, melted butter and poppy seeds in a small bowl (You can add a bit more panko if it seems too buttery). Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over-top of sauce and then top with panko mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (20 minutes for tender-crisp asparagus to 25 minutes for softer, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Times would be for thinner asparagus).