This recipe for Asparagus Tempura with Lemon Poppy Aïoli is the perfect appetizer for your next gathering or cocktail party that calls for a creative, and flavorful, hand-held appetizer.
Tempura-battered vegetables are very on-trend and popular. Of Japanese origin, tempura can be battered and deep-fried seafood or vegetables with origins dating back to the 16th century.
Asparagus is perfect for a tempura batter. The coating retains the vegetable’s juiciness, but provides a crispy exterior and crunch that are very appealing.
This recipe comes to us courtesy of Los Angeles-based restaurant Cal Mare. Located in the Beverly Center, the concept is an homage to the coasts of Italy and Southern California.
- As needed Vegetable oil for frying, preferably rice bran oil
- 2 bunches (about 2 pounds) asparagus, bottoms trimmed
- 1 cup rice flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup club soda
- To taste Sea salt
- 2 lemons, one cut in half, one juiced, the other for zest
- 1 lemon, zest of, microplaned
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon dried lavender
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-½ teaspoons water
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- ¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 Make the aioli: in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl combine, lavender, lemon zest, garlic, egg yolk and water.
- 2 Place a small saucepan, half full with water, over medium heat. Drape a kitchen towel over the steaming water, using care to fold the towel to form a base for the mixing bowl.
- 3 Place the mixing bowl over the heat until the egg yolk begins to thicken. Drizzle the olive oil in a steady stream until a smooth consistency forms, then transfer to serving/dipping ramekins and refrigerate.
- 4 In a medium-sized bowl, using a whisk, mix the rice flour with baking powder, baking soda, and club soda. Season with salt.
- 5 Preheat 1 inch of oil in a large saucepan to 350 degrees F.
- 6 Dip the asparagus in the batter and fry in batches for 2 minutes each.
- 7 Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt.
- 8 Serve warm with aioli for dipping.