Potato & asparagus salad
Lemony mustard vinaigrette is fantastic with potatoes, but it also brings out a lot of sweetness in asparagus as well. Here was my fairly easy answer to lunch, incorporating the three with some soft boiled egg and capers (though these can be omitted, or the egg replaced with tofu for a vegan alternative). A lovely balance of sweet, tangy, soft and creamy, and slightly crunchy. Best of all, if you have a large wok or saucepan, you only end up with that and a large salad bowl to wash. Plus lunch in one bowl will be sorted! There is no real measuring needed either, all the measurements are guides.
serves 3 smallish appetites for lunch
- 4-5 medium large potatoes, or equivalent, cut into 1″ (2.5cm) cubes
- 4-5 stalks asparagus, bases peeled if necessary* – using a combo of colours is even better!
- optional: 2 eggs or equivalent amount of semi-firm, very fresh tofu, cubed
- optional: about 2 Tbs capers (if using salted, rinse by immersing in boiled water before boiling potatoes) EDIT: or some pitted olives (I love love love pitted kalamata olives)
*Often the stalks at the bottom can be a bit woody. My guideline is that if you can pierce the skin at the base with your fingernail easily, then there is no need for peeling, otherwise peel the bottom 4cm.
Lemony mustard vinaigrette:
- juice of one large lemon
- small splash white wine or white vinegar
- equivalent amount (or 1.5x if you like it thicker) of neutral or olive oil as the liquids
- about 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional but highly recommended: handful finely chopped fresh parsley or chives, or some other tender leaf herb
Fully immerse potatoes and eggs in cold water in a large saucepan or wok that will fit the potatoes, eggs and asparagus. Place on high heat and cover to bring to the boil. Uncover when boiling and let boil for five minutes. Squeeze juice from lemons into the serving bowl you will be using, then discard any seeds and place squeezed lemon halves in with the potatoes.
Once boiled for five minutes, remove the eggs and let cool on the side. Add the asparagus stalks whole to the potatoes, cover again and let cook for one minute. Uncover and test done-ness of asparagus by sticking a small sharp knife into one of the stalks. It should still have a little resistance, remove the whole stalks (with tongs!) and place on a chopping board to cool. If your asparagus is already cooked to your liking then rinse under cold water to stop them cooking further whilst cooling (they do, trust me!). Now test the potatoes with a sharp knife – your knife should barely receive any resistance as it slides in. Once your potatoes get to this stage, drain the potatoes (tilt the lid of the pan slightly, and hold it on to the pan and up-end to drain, so you don’t have to wash a colander) and let cool on the side.
Add all the other vinaigrette ingredients to the lemon juice and whisk until the oil is relatively well incorporated into the other liquids. Add potatoes and capers, and mix to distribute the dressing all over the potatoes.
Slice asparagus diagonally and add to the potatoes. Peel the eggs, chop up and add to the asparagus and potato. Stir to combine everything and coat well in vinaigrette, taste, and season further with salt if necessary.
PS. On a personal note, my year-long thesis is due tomorrow…! I have a few posts scheduled the next wee while, but I have two other assignments due in rather quick succession, then an exam. So don’t be concerned if I drop off the radar a bit! Enjoy the new season, whether it’s spring or autumn :)