Asparagus Tempura

Serves
4

A super-simple little sharing starter ‘snack’ for 4, or a satisfying supper for 2, giving our seasonal asparagus lightness and crisp texture from the shallow-fried tempura treatment and paired with creamy, indulgent ricotta made from the leftover whey from a little mozzarella-making. The levity here is the key, and allows batter and creamy cheese to feel absolutely right for our celebrated asparagus. We made our ricotta by reheating our whey to a low boil and adding a squeeze of lemon until those escaped curds show their faces again and then pouring into a muslin bag over a bowl. We add sea salt and the whey cheese has a lemony note from the juice. Good, shop-bought ricotta will work beautiful too, of course.

Crucially, if you can find sheep’s or goat’s milk ricotta (we made ours with the St Helen’s Farm Goat’s Milk that is widely available in the supermarkets now), you will have your dream tri-doshic cheese. All young, soft, fresh, creamy goat’s or ewe’s cheese (including cottage cheese from these milks) suits all doshas. Pitta and Vata can still have cow’s milk if not allergic or intolerant, but Kapha does MUCH better with goat’s. Asparagus, by the by, is also tri-doshic. Hurrah.

Ingredients

A bundle of fresh, trimmed asparagus spears
40g cornflour
60g white spelt flour
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
A splash of ice cold sparkling cider
Ice cold sparkling water
2 tbsp. cold pressed rapeseed oil
100g fresh ricotta
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkling of sumac
½ ripe lemon

Method

  • 1 To make your ricotta dip find yourself a bowl. Add your ricotta, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of good, organic, extra virgin olive oil, a good grind of fresh black pepper and a sprinkling of sumac
  • 2 Heat a dry griddle pan to smoking and tumble on your asparagus spears. Turn occasionally with tongs to achieve an even char and the release of those nutty aromas. Remove from the pan
  • 3 Heat your rapeseed oil in a large frying pan on a high heat
  • 4 In a baking tray combine your flours and run a whisk through them for a lazy sifting. Add the mustard seeds. Add a splash of ice-cold sparkling cider and your ice-cold sparkling water and combine into a batter. It should coat your finger when you dip it
  • 5 Retain the fizz by not over mixing and acting speedily. Throw in your asparagus and quickly coat before removing to your hot oil where the batter will immediately puff and then crisp. The mustard seeds will pop. Turn in the oil until golden all round and remove to a kitchen towel and then to your serving plate
  • 6 When cooled enough to hold you are ready to plunge into your ricotta bowl. Ayurveda recommends that you eat slowly and savour. It may be a difficulty