Asparagi Fritti

Fried Breaded Asparagus from Nicla’s Kitchenimage_19206604060_o

So much of what I know about cooking I learned from my mother Nicla who is one of the most inventive and creative cooks around, whose outstanding repertoire and range continues to amaze me. Sometimes I try to reproduce her recipes without consulting her, thinking I have them imprinted correctly in my memory. Big mistake. Last spring as the first asparagus came into the market, I immediately thought of breading  and then frying them as she does. The result? The breading was unevenly coated and  burnt and the spears were raw. What was the trick I wondered. Recently I began to collaborate with her in writing recipes for a cookbook and the secret was out. She blanches the spears! I had breaded them raw, so nothing stuck. Mystery solved. I’m going to share my mother’s recipe and my test drive with you. And I invite you to try the recipe and give me feedback on how it works for you!


12-14 large stalks asparagus

1 cup flour

1 egg (beaten)

1 cup bread crumbs (Panko will not work well for this recipe)

canola or vegetable oil for frying

1 tablespoon salt

pepper and lemon (optional)


  1. Prepare the asparagus stalks by snapping the bottom end. They will naturally break where the woody part ends. Wash the stalks and put them standing upright in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. This is an important step because the stalks will maintain their crispness during the cooking process.
  2. Bring a quart of water to boil in a pot, then add 1 tablespoon of salt. This may seem like a lot of salt, but if you salt the water well, you don’t have to salt the food as much later.image_19368131506_o
  3. Cook the asparagus in the boiling salted water for no more than 2 minutes after the water returns to a boil.
  4. Plunge the asparagus stalks into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Then remove them with tongs and place on a clean towel to dry.image_19206645208_o

The coating:

  1. Set up a breading station by placing a towel paper with flour, then alongside it, place a bowl with a beaten egg, and finally another paper towel with bread crumbs.image_19208037009_o
  2. Flour each stalk one at a time (even two) by rolling it back and forth until coated.image_19398347151_o
  3. Dip the stalk in the egg, then coat with the crumbs. Again, rolling the stalk gently back and forth will coat it well. Place on a rack to rest. At this point you can prepare the asparagus earlier in the day to fry later, as long as the stalks were dried well before breading.

The frying:

  1. Add enough oil to the skillet to cover the stalks and heat to medium high.
  2. Drop the stalks one by one (avoid frying more than four or five at a time) and fry until golden, turning occasionally for a uniform color.
  3. Drain the stalks on paper towels, salt (and pepper) lightly as necessary to taste. A squeeze of lemon brightens the taste if you like. Keep the asparagus warm uncovered in the oven as you continue to fry the rest. Optional: sprinkle with a little squeezed lemon or make a light mayonnaise dip. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Menu Suggestions:

The fried breaded asparagus is a simple, yet luxurious complement to a main entrée along- side barbecued meats, roasts, fish, or egg dishes (such as crepes, omelettes, or soufflés). They work well as an appetizer with cocktails or as an addictive finger food at a party. I confess (Vickie speaking here)…these are amazing at room temperature the next day as leftovers, with a little cheese and wine.



2 thoughts on “Asparagi Fritti

  1. Boy, you’ve been busy!! Your garden must be chock full of nice veggies!! I really enjoy your blog Toria! XOXO


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