Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Salad Recipe
Tender asparagus tops get cooked in hot water, shocked in cold water and added to this savory springtime salad.
Image by James Scherzi
In her book Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers and Veggies in Your Garden, author Helen Yoest says that, "as early as 200 B.C., Cato educated others on growing asparagus. Later Romans, including Pliny, Julius Caesar and Augustus, held the wild variety in high esteem." Its suggestive shape intrigued many, but its benefits kept people coming back for more.
"No doubt, the asparagus is a psychologically suggestive food, but on the biological side, it's filled with vitamins B6, A and C, potassium, fiber and Thiamin—plus folic acid...and vitamin E," Yoest writes. "Since it takes two to three years to begin harvesting asparagus, it's best to start plants from roots, called crowns, rather than from seed. This gives a jump-start on production."
Once those perennial plants start to produce, they're often prolific. And this Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Salad is one of many great ways to make the most of asparagus in its prime.
"This recipe is great in the spring when asparagus comes into season," says John Stage, founder of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York City. "It's made with mayonnaise and can be held at room temperature so the flavors really develop."
Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Salad
For the vegetables
- 1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 pound asparagus
- ½ large bell pepper, seeded
- ½ cup slivered red onion
For the dressing
- 5 tablespoons Creole mustard or spicy brown mustard
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Tabasco sauce
Cook the potatoes in boiling water to cover until tender. Without peeling, cut the potatoes into ¾-inch cubes and put them in a bowl. Snap off the tough bottoms of the stalks of asparagus and discard, then cook the tender tops in a shallow pan of simmering salted water until tender-crisp. Drain and shock in cold water. Slice the asparagus into 1 1/2-inch pieces and add to the potatoes. Cut the pepper into sticks about the same width and length as the asparagus. Put in the bowl. Add the red onion.
Mix up the dressing by stirring together the mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Add a couple of dashes of Tabasco to taste.
Add the dressing to the vegetables and give a good stir. Serve right away for best color in the asparagus.