Deep Fried Asparagus Throwdown

I’ll be honest. I have no clue how this post ties in with my theme of Fire Day Friday. But it is too *$&# good to pass up.
The best restaurant appetizer and best restaurant main course I have ever eaten are from the same place, Puleo’s Grille in Knoxville. Their shrimp and grits are comfort food times infinity. But their deep fried asparagus should be illegal. No vegetable should be this delectable. These asparagus spears are crispy on the outside, tender when you bite into them, and have just a little kick.
We bought a deep fryer and the first thing we wanted to make in it is deep fried asparagus.

Stockton Fried Asparagus
Source: Stockton Asparagus Festival Cookbook

1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
2/3 cup cold flat beer
3 pounds (2 cups) raw, whole asparagus, cleaned and cut above white end

Mix all ingredients except asparagus in a bowl with a wire whisk until well blended. Dip asparagus spears individually in the batter and deep fry them in at least 2 inches of peanut oil for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Dust generously with grated Parmesan cheese.

I mixed it up as directed but it was too thick, almost a dough instead of a batter. I added more beer to thin it out, maybe too thin. They were still very good they just looked a little funny.
Puleo’s serves theirs with two dips, a honey mustard and a spicy avocado ranch. Here is a quick and easy knock off of the avocado ranch. We have used this as a dip several times.

Spicy Avocado Ranch Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Cruise Farms Buttermilk
3 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 avocado, seeded and peeled
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Use 1/2 tsp of cayenne if you prefer mild over spicy. Use 1 tsp if you lean more toward the spicy side.
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April Westerhold

OMG! This looks fantastic. I tried to do it a couple of years ago but I don’t think my grease was hot enough. I aggree with Debbi, if it is fried it is usually good (not good for you) but good. LOL