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Beer-Battered Asparagus

['1/2 cup mayonnaise', '1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice', '1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest', '1/4 teaspoon black pepper', '1 cup all-purpose flour', '1 teaspoon salt', '1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest', '1/4 teaspoon black pepper', '1 cup lager such as Harp (pour beer slowly into measuring cup; do not measure foam)', 'About 4 cups vegetable oil', '1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces', 'a deep-fat thermometer']

Stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, zest, and pepper in a small bowl. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F.
Whisk together flour, salt, zest, and pepper in a bowl until combined, then add beer, whisking until smooth.
Heat 3 inches oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until it registers 375°F on thermometer.
Submerge asparagus spears in batter to coat. Working in batches of 10, drag 1 at a time gently against rim to remove excess batter, then transfer to oil and fry, stirring gently to keep asparagus from sticking together, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer as fried with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 375°F between batches. Serve with lemon dipping sauce.

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