I'm here for the beer

Batter, that is. Once I learned how easy it was to beer batter and fry just about anything, I never looked back. Beer battered fried things are spicy, sweet, crunchy, and perfect. Beer battered fried asparagus? Heavenly. The Venn Diagram of people who like these fried asparagus and people who are generally excellent is a perfect circle. They're just that good. 

Asparagus is in season for us right now, so without hesitation, I picked up about a pound this past weekend. This past weekend I spent a little over 48 hours in my hometown, Atlanta, and was reminded of everything I've missed. Hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, low country boil, grits...all the warm starchy things. When I got back to the harsh spring (winter) weather of NYC, I thought I'd bring some southern comfort to our kitchen - fried asparagus!

If you're feeling bold, you can follow this recipe for many different vegetables: sliced sweet potatoes, french green beans, winter squash, and even broccoli. This PBR beer batter is so thick and rich it will coat anything and make you forget you're eating your daily recommended allowance of green veggies. The inside stays crunchy, the outside is crisp and golden, and the aioli - the star of the show, helps you wash it all down.

Bon appetit, friends.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 1/2 lb asparagus, sliced in halves
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 c vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c spicy shallot oil - I used this 
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp iodized salt
  • 1 tsp spicy mustard
  • 1 24-oz can Pabst Blue Ribbon beer
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the asparagus spears in a large ice bath - a bowl filled with ice water, and set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, beat the egg yolks until thick. Add the juice of a whole lemon, the garlic cloves, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp spicy mustard, and blend again. Slowly pour in the shallot oil and blend. Finally, pour in the olive oil and blend until you have a thick, custard-y mixture.
  3. Refrigerate the aioli for at least half an hour, so the mixture thickens and flavors marry.
  4. Make your dredging stations as follows: 1 plate with 1 cup of flour; 1 large bowl with 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp salt. Slowly pour the entire contents of the beer can into the bowl and stir until you have a thick mixture.
  5. Heat up the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven or pot on medium-high.
  6. When the oil makes flour sizzle, you're ready to fry. Lightly coat the asparagus in flour, then dredge in the beer batter, then carefully place into the frying pan. Repeat this step until you have no more than 10 spears in the pot.
  7. Allow the asparagus to get puffy and crispy, turning them after about 5 minutes. Fry them for no more than 10 minutes and place them on a paper-towel lined baking sheet or drying rack. Repeat this process with every batch of asparagus.
  8. Serve slightly cooled with the shallot aiioli.
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