Appetizers/Starters, Savory Snacks

Asparagus Fries with Roasted Garlic Tarragon Aioli

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, separated
1 cup cold water
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed of hard ends
vegetable oil for frying (enough to have 2 inch deep fry base for your pot)
salt and pepper to taste

For the Aioli
4 large egg yolk
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

First, make the aioli: Cut off and discard tops of garlic head to expose cloves, then brush head with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Wrap in foil and bake in a 400F oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze garlic from skins into a food processor and purée.

Whisk together yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl. Combine oils and add, a few drops at a time, to yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. (If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.) If aioli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Add in the roasted garlic and chopped tarragon. Chill, covered, until ready to use. Let sit a minimum of 30 minutes to let flavors meld.

To make the fries: Sift together dry ingredients. With a wire whisk, stir in egg yolk and cup of cold water. Beat egg white until smooth and frothy and stir into batter.

Trim hard, woody ends off the asparagus. Dip into batter and fry in deep fat oil until golden brown. Wick excess oil off the fries by laying on a wire rack covered with a layer of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately (otherwise they get quite soggy and limp… and no one likes a limp frie).

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