Rouille with asparagus pakoras

Serves: 4
Course: Starter
Cooking Time: 0 hr 2 mins
  • For the rouille:
  • 100g stale bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • 200ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the pakoras:
  • 1 bunch of green asparagus
  • 200g gram flour
  • Half a tsp ground cumin 
  • Half a tsp ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300ml sparkling water
  • 300ml vegetable oil for frying

1. To make the rouille, put the torn bread into a food processor with the lemon juice and the red pepper. Blitz until it turns to a paste.

2. Add the egg yolk, garlic and paprika.

3. Turn the processor to a low to medium speed, let the yolk incorporate into the bread mixture. Slowly, in a steady stream, add the olive oil. The oil should emulsify with the yolk and bread mixture.

4. The rouille should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thick or has split, stream in a little cold water. This should help bring the mix back together.

5. Prepare the asparagus by cutting about half an inch from the bottom of the stem.

6. Make the pakora batter in a large mixing bowl, first adding all of the dry ingredients. Now add the vinegar and sparkling water and whisk thoroughly.

7. Put the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place on a high heat.

8. When the oil is hot take an asparagus spear and it in coat in the batter. Using tongs, working quickly, place each coated asparagus spear carefully into the fryer. The batter will puff up like tempura. Fry for two minutes until light brown. Place on a plate with some paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

9. Serve with the rouille.

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a Kiwi chef living on the west coast of Ireland