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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Beer-Battered Asparagus

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
This is great bar food, yet does not contain melted cheese or tortilla chips — talk about nouvelle cuisine!

Ingredients for dipping sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 drops pure lemon oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Ingredients for asparagus
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup lager such as Harp (pour beer slowly into measuring cup; do not measure foam)
About 4 cups vegetable oil
1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces

Make dipping sauce: Stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, zest, and pepper in a small bowl. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

Make batter and fry asparagus: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F. This is to hold the asparagus while you fry up some more. Whisk together flour, salt, zest, and pepper in a bowl until combined, then add beer, whisking until smooth. Heat 3 inches oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until it registers 375°F on thermometer. Submerge asparagus spears in batter to coat. Working in batches of 10, drag 1 at a time gently against rim to remove excess batter, then transfer to oil and fry, stirring gently to keep asparagus from sticking together, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer as fried with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 375°F between batches. Serve with lemon dipping sauce.