Asparagus tempura with bagna cauda

Asparagus tempura with bagna cauda

Tender asparagus works brilliantly as tempura in this recipe from Melissa Thompson. The quick frying maintains the spears’ signature snap and pairing them with salty, umami-rich bagna cauda, a warm anchovy dip, makes them a gloriously moreish treat.

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  • Serves4
  • CourseSide
  • Prepare15 mins
  • Cook40 mins
  • Total time55 mins

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  • 200ml milk
  • 6 clove/s garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 230g bunches asparagus
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Egg, beaten
  • 200ml ice-cold soda water


  1. For the bagna cauda, pour the milk into a saucepan, add the halved garlic cloves and bring to a gentle simmer. Poach the garlic for 20-25 minutes until soft. Add the anchovies and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until dissolved. Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender, adding the olive oil a little at a time until the mixture is emulsified and slightly thickened. Keep warm over a low heat. Meanwhile, break off the woody ends of the asparagus by holding each spear towards its end and bending until it snaps off.

  2. Pour the vegetable oil into a medium saucepan until it’s half full, then set over a medium heat. It’s ready when it reaches 180ºC on a sugar thermometer or a small cube of bread sizzles when dropped in the oil. While it’s heating, put the flour, salt and egg in a bowl, mix together loosely, then add the soda water and mix loosely again (don’t worry about lumps). Set up a rack over a baking tray to drain the asparagus.

  3. When the oil is ready, drag an asparagus spear through the batter, ensuring it is completely covered, then use a metal slotted spoon to carefully lower it into the oil. Repeat, ensuring you don’t overcrowd the pan. Once the batter is puffed up and crispy (3-4 minutes), use a metal slotted spoon to carefully transfer spears to the draining rack. Repeat until all the spears are cooked. Sprinkle over some sea salt flakes and serve with the warm bagna cauda for dipping.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,067kJ/ 497kcals



Saturated Fat












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