Food Editor’s Notes: I like almost all potato salads, but this is a spectacular version that can be served at a casual meal or an elegant buffet or dinner party. There is no mayonnaise in the dressing, just a tasty dressing of olive oil, vinegar, and other simple ingredients. The most unusual part of this dish is the addition of asparagus pieces. They add flavor and color, and elevate the dish to a level of sophistication not usually associated with potato salad. This is easier to make than you imagine, can be made a day ahead of serving, and will be a great accompaniment to almost any entrée or salad.
3 pounds small red potatoes (scrub them clean)
1 pound asparagus (snap off bottoms)
2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (Vidalia)
1/3 cup sweet gherkin pickles, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
7 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Steam the potatoes (in a vegetable steamer over about 1 inch of boiling water) until tender, about 25 minutes. Let them cool to the touch.
2. Cook asparagus in boiling, salted water, uncovered, about 3 minutes (or 2 minutes if very thin), until just tender. Transfer them immediately to a bowl of ice water (to stop cooking and keep color). Drain and dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick.
4. Add potatoes, asparagus, celery, onion, parsley and pickle to a large bowl.
5. In a small saucepan, warm olive oil and whisk in vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds. Pour over the potato salad and toss gently to coat.
Yield: 8 or more servings
Julie Weisman is an indispensable member of the ShalomBoston.com staff. She comes from a family of great cooks and is no slouch herself in this department. She often tries new recipes on her extended family and shares the best of them with ShalomBoston.com. Julie can be reached at email@example.com.