Asparagus Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Today, I need to once again give credit to the ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon. If you haven't checked out their blog already, you definitely should. They always have excellent (and usually whimsical) recipes, as well as gorgeous food styling and photography. When I came across this recipe for asparagus fries with different dipping sauces, I knew I had a winner. As you may have noticed (as evidenced here and here), I have somewhat of an affinity for asparagus which is only matched for my love of french fries. And dipping sauces. For time's sake, I only made the roasted garlic aioli, but I can assure you that the asparagus were no less loved for that. Asparagus Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli (Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon)

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

For aioli:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 head garlic, top cut off

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic on a small piece of tinfoil, drizzle olive oil over, then season with salt and pepper. Loosely pack tinfoil around and roast until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool.

Mash garlic into a paste, then whisk in mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare three shallow bowls: 1  of flour, seasoned, 1 of eggs, lightly whisked, and the last of the panko bread crumbs. Working in batches of 4-5, coat asparagus completely in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with aioli.

Restaurants: Dumont Burger

Oh, Dumont Burger, how I love you. You never cease to amaze me, with your tender and succulent beef patty, crunchy lettuce and onions, and toasted bun. With or without cheese, you are perfect. I could rhapsodize about your vinegary pickles, your crispy fries, and your incredible onion rings, but really, it is the burger that takes center stage.

If you live in New York and haven't been to Dumont Burger, I suggest you hop on the L train and run there. Immediately.

No really, you will thank me.

Dumont Burger is the off-shoot of a slightly fancier restaurant called Dumont, both located in Williamsburg. Dumont has better ambiance, with a lovely garden outside (and an excellent fried artichoke salad). They also serve the same burger, but in my opinion it is somehow better at the appropriately named Dumont Burger. The only unfortunate thing there is that the seating, especially in the winter, is limited. It is really more like a bar inside, but on warm summer nights, life doesn't get much better than sitting outside at the sidewalk tables with a giant burger in hand and a cold Hoegaarden to wash it all down. Of course, they have other items on the menu besides burgers and fries, such as a pulled pork sandwich and turkey burger. However, I ordered the turkey burger once and while it was good for a turkey burger -- that was about it. I enviously looked at my dining companion's regular burger with regret. As the inimitable Ray Isle, Food & Wine's  Executive Wine Editor, recently said:

"Somewhere out there someone is trying to stay healthy by eating [a turkey burger]. Madness knows no bounds. Drink water with it, then watch Papillon, the great Steve McQueen movie about being in prison on Devil’s Island in French Guiana—because that is what you are doing to your soul, my friend."

(See the full article on burgers and wine pairings here)

Many people claim to know the best burger in New York, but in my humble opinion, it can be found on Bedford Avenue  in Williamsburg, just a short ride from Manhattan.

Also, does anyone know where they get those pickles?