Friday, August 10, 2018

Asparagus with Dill Sauce

Once upon a time asparagus had a very short season in markets. Nowadays it seems to be a staple, not that I’m complaining!

I’m heading for Ireland in a couple of weeks, so I’m priming my tastebuds for Irish food. Of course Ballymaloe chef Darina Allen comes to mind, and I’ve given you at least one of her recipes before. After my last trip I carted home a signed copy of her latest book Grow Cook Nourish, which weighs over five pounds and contains five hundred recipes, with glorious pictures, and detailed explanations of all the ingredients and what to do with them. The book is two inches thick, so I’ll be sifting through it for a long time to come.

Actually Chef Allen found this dish while visiting San Francisco, so it’s kind of a hybrid. I’ve cheated and used a food processor rather than whisking the batter together by hand. And you might want to wait until the weather cools off just a bit, since this does require some hot oil, if only for a short period.

Asparagus with Dill Sauce


20 fat asparagus spears (since this recipe involves cooking it twice, the skinny ones wouldn’t work)
vegetable oil for deep frying
lemon wedges for garnish


6 oz. (by weight) plain flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup ice water

Dill sauce:

2 Tblsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup crème fraiche
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus spears and blanch the spears in boiling salted water for one minute. 

Dip in the ice water to stop them cooking, then drain and cool.

For the batter, put the flour and salt into the bowl of the food processor (or blender). Gradually add the oil, lemon juice and water, mixing on medium speed. The batter should have the consistency of heavy cream.

Stir the chopped dill into the crème fraiche, and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for the moment.

Just before you plan to serve, heat the oil in a deep frying pan (to 180 degrees, if you have a cooking thermometer) or an electric fry pan (I got one as a wedding gift and I’m still using it).

Dip the asparagus spears into the batter one at a time, and cook a few at a time (not too many or the oil will cool too much) for 2-4 minutes. They will not brown, and they don’t really need turning. They do turn stiff when they’re cooked.

Drain the cooked spears on paper towels, then place on a plate and drizzle the dill-crème fraiche mixture. Serve immediately while hot.

The result? The asparagus flavor comes through well, and the batter-coated stalks are crunchy! The sauce is pleasantly tart and provides a good contrast. This could be a good side-dish for grilled meat or fish.

Here's a sneak peek at the next County Cork Mystery, The Lost Traveller.

Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.

Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland―until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak. 

Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork―much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever―but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. 

It's available for pre-order now, but you'll have to wait until January to read it!


  1. The book and your recipe both sound excellent. Looking forward to experiencing both of them!
    Thank you.


  2. Not surprisingly, the new book sounds fascinating.
    The asparagus sound pretty tasty, too!

  3. I bet going thru that book has been fun.