Throw together this fantastic salad before asparagus season ends. It has been a favorite at the Small Table for several years; even Little S. will eat it! The inspiration for this dish came from a photo I once saw in a library book. I have no idea how that book-salad tasted, but the idea of nuts in a dressing left me with a crazy desire to re-create. The result is this potato/asparagus/spinach combination topped with my fantasy-version of the dressing I saw. Delicious and nutritious. Read on.
Thanks to the potato, this salad is substantial, and a good choice for dinner on a warm evening. You can continue to make this recipe through the summer by substituting fresh green beans for the asparagus as the season changes. Make the dressing just before serving so the nuts stay nice and crunchy.
Note: The best potatoes for this recipe are gold, waxy white, or red. I don’t recommend russets. They tend to fall apart when boiled, and are better for baking.
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan, enough to cover potato cubes by an inch or so. Meanwhile, cut a medium potato into cubes. When the water boils, add the potatoes and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they pierce easily with a fork. Drain and set aside.
Now for the green. When you buy asparagus, it looks like this, with a little white cut-end. You want to snap this end off. Bend the stalk of asparagus a few inches from the cut-end, until the end snaps off. Discard the cut-end.
Use the same pan to boil more water. Meanwhile, snap off all the white asparagus-ends. When the water boils, drop the asparagus briefly in– just until it turns bright green. This will take around one minute, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Drain and set aside.
While the veg cools a bit, make the dressing. I like to use a mug with tall sides, and whisk everything together with a fork. Add all ingredients except the nuts to the mug; whisk together well. Add chopped nuts and stir to combine.
Now arrange your salad. Plate the baby spinach, top with potatoes and asparagus. Dress with this wonderful dressing, and contemplate the beauty of late spring.
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