I had some leftovers after my trip to Miller’s farm stand at Market & Penn and my subsequent bout with decadence, a la eggs and asparagus.
And while I continue to preach the delicious simplicity of sauteing and roasting veggies, even I need a change once in a while.
Better Homes and Gardens has an online list of 25 asparagus recipes, so I began browsing that and … wait, what?
Asparagus fritters (concept from Better Homes and Gardens, but I use a beer-based tempura batter because, well, beer tempura! )
- Asparagus (you can keep it in long sticks, or coarsely chop it and batter it in small piles that will more closely resemble a traditional fritter)
- 1 cup flour (rice or all-purpose)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 12 oz. beer
- Frying oil (see healthy frying tips below for best oils)
Battering tip: Asparagus should be clean, dry and dusted with flour before battering. Batter should be ice cold. The very cold batter hitting the hot oil is what makes that excellent crispiness. If you mix the batter right, it will be thick enough that there’s a nice crunch, but not so thick that you’re in violation of my philosophy that we shouldn’t desecrate the vegetables by masking their natural taste. You can skim off any excess batter with a spoon or finger before plopping them into your fryer or skillet.
If using a skillet, oil should cover the bottom of the pan. When it’s hot enough, it will “spit” when the battered asparagus hits it, so have a lid or plate ready to cover the veggies while they fry.
Mix all dry batter ingredients, then slowly whisk in the beer until you get a good consistency (thick but wet — you’ll probably use the whole beer). Dunk asparagus, skim off excess, fry just a few minutes until crispy brown (rotate them with tongs for even crispiness), cool and eat.
Healthy frying tips: I want us all to eat well, so if you’re worried about turning a healthy meal of asparagus into an unhealthy, fried mess, here are some tips, courtesy of Cooking Light, for the healthiest ways to fry your veggies. The most important ones are to use a carbonated liquid (beer or seltzer water) to make the batter, to choose an oil with a high smoke point (soybean, canola or peanut) and to let your fritters or sticks cool on paper towels. All of these practices will reduce the absorption of excess oil.