I prefer Asparagus compared to any other vegetable in Spring – it carries the top spot on my “Favorite Vegetable of Spring” list. Their are a few factors that make this Vegetable the perfect fit for the #1 spot – Asparagus is very diverse and can be used all summer long in a variety of different ending results. They arrive in all different sizes, Pencil to Jumbo. All sizes have there purpose, from a Grilled Pencil Asparagus Quiche at brunch to a Jumbo Asparagus Bruschetta for an Appetizer at Dinner, it is an all around versatile vegetable that tastes great and is good for you!
When selecting your Asparagus look for a semi-firm tip and stalk with darker colored leaves on a solid colored stalk. If you are questioning the life of your Asparagus then please ask about “the snap”. Take your Asparagus and bend it, it should not bend to touch the other end it should snap about 3/4’s of the way down the stalk. This is 100% freshness check. If your Asparagus does not snap in the lower to middle of the stalk you will have a short time ( 2-3 days) to cook and eat your vegetable or it will turn on you. The idea of “the snap” carries over to your preparation of your Asparagus. The snap is where you should cut your Asparagus before blanching. You need to cut the ends off your Asparagus before cooking, it has a woody taste.
Blanching and Shocking
This is the most important part of eating Asparagus!
In a large pot of Boiling water add 3 Tablespoons of Salt. Drop your Asparagus into water – Do not over-crowd your Asparagus in the water, it will not cook evenly. Always cut off the binder holding the Asparagus together and cook for 2-4 minutes depending on the size of your Asparagus, with a paring knife it should slide into the stalk of the Asparagus and slide out with no resistance or it should be slightly tender to the touch. Have a bucket of ice water waiting, strain the Asparagus and put it directly into the ice water. This will do 2 things:1 – It stops the cooking process and you have a perfectly cooked Vegetable. 2) This keeps your Green Vegetable bright Green. Now that your Asparagus is Blanched & Shocked the beauty of this Vegetable is waiting for you. I chose in this recipe to batter and fry the Asparagus, it is accompanied with a chilled Lemon Aioli. It is a refreshing as it is a hot & cold option that is light and refreshing.
Tempura Fried Asparagus with Lemon Aioli
The Tempura batter:
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 2 Cups Club Soda
- Preheat your fryer oil to 375 degrees.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together first. Slowly add the Club Soda, constantly mixing.
- Pass the batter thru a stainer and discard the lumps. If the batter is too thick add cold water slowly!
- When frying your Asparagus, cook for 1 minute. Remove and put on a paper towel. Add a pinch of Salt, serve as soon as possible.
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Garlic -Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
- 1 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley – Finely Chopped
- Salt and Pepper to your taste
Please remember to always Blanch and Shock your Asparagus first.
This is a great snack or appetizer to enjoy with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc – ENJOY!