Recipe: Tempura asparagus with chipotle orange dressing

Asparagus tempura with chipotle orange dip. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Asparagus tempura with chipotle orange dip. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Will our crispy tempura asparagus recipe get you in the mood for love?

Some say it's chocolate. Some say oysters. Others swear by chillies. But for many, the ultimate romantic gourmet feast is asparagus. This comes down to two things. One – it's nutritional content (apparently vitamin E is rather stimulating). Two – it's shape (but we won't go into that).

With asparagus season now in full flow, there's no better time than now to impress your lover with a plate of the green stuff – especially if you forgot to do something nice on Valentine's Day!

Look out for bunches that have a vivid colour and are no thicker than your fingers. They shouldn't bend easily either.

I've prepared them here with a zesty orange dip, with a bit of heat – not dissimilar to a Thai dish I've eaten before.


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You might think orange and asparagus is a bit of a weird pairing, but actually the two are perfect partners in crime, and in fancier restaurants you might find the spears served with sauce Maltaise (a creamy emulsion infused with orange).

A dip of sauce sauce, garlic and fresh chilli would be great too – and, dare I say it, more potent on the romance front.

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Tempura asparagus with chipotle and orange dip

(serves two)

Ingredients

For the dressing: juice of 1 orange, 2tbsps each cider vinegar and rapeseed oil, pinch chipotle chilli flakes, pinch salt and pepper

For the asparagus: 1 large bunch asparagus, 50g plain flour plus extra for dusting, 1tbsp cornflour, 100ml fizzy water, salt and pepper, oil for deep frying

Method

Make the dip first. Place all the dip ingredients in a jam jar and shake. Or whisk in a small bowl.

Now trim the woody ends of the asparagus and cut each one in half lengthwise and dust with salt, pepper and flour. Set aside.

Mix together the plain flour, cornflour, fizzy water and seasoning. It should be as thick as double cream. Add a little more water if needed.

Half fill a medium saucepan with oil and bring to 180C. Dip a piece of asparagus in the batter and carefully lower into the oil. Repeat with the other pieces, adding about four to the pan. Cook until they rise to the surface and are slightly golden, then remove with a slotted spoon to drain on kitchen paper.

Repeat with the rest of the asparagus and serve with your dip.

Have you tried making our broad bean burger with sticky aubergine jam yet?

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