2 ratings

Asparagus Tempura With White Sesame and Sorrel

Give the veggie a playful twist
(Neil Burger / Chicago Tribune)

Most vegetables can be transformed into tempura, but none of them hold a candle to asparagus. The springtime veggie's perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors is brought to new heights when it's drenched in an egg yolk batter and fried to perfection. 

This recipe is by Lula Cafe chef Jason Hammel and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
12 m
10 m
(prepare time)
2 m
(cook time)


For the aioli

  • 1 bunch or 4 ounces sorrel, chopped
  • 2 Ounces parsley, chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon water
  • 1/4 Cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • Salt to taste

For the asparagus

  • 1 Pound asparagus
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Cup soda water
  • Togarashi
  • White sesame seeds


For the aioli

Step 1: Prepare the aioli. In a high speed blender, combine 1 bunch chopped sorrel and 2 ounces chopped parsley with 1 egg yolk, and blend at high speed. Add 1 clove garlic clove when yolk is creamy and bright green, puree for an additional minute, then add 1 teaspoon water, and begin the emulsification. Slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, in a thin hesitant stream, until the sauce becomes thick and combined. Then add olive oil in a similar slow and careful stream. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and salt to season, then pass through a fine-mesh chinois.

For the asparagus

Step 1: Trim bottoms of 1 pound asparagus. Taste a stalk raw. If it's sweet and delicious and perfect, don't touch it. If the skin seems fibrous and tough, peel the thickest sections. Never peel the tips.

Step 2: Batter and fry: Heat fryer to 350 degrees. Combine 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 cup soda water and allow to sit as the oil heats. Dip asparagus carefully into batter, and allow excess to drip. Fry until golden. About 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then toss liberally in salt, togarashi and sesame seeds.