Spring has been taking its merry old time to arrive this year. One day will be in the 70s, sunny, warm with still a hint of chill in the shade. The next day its in the 40s with a cold rain. This time of year I get excited at the idea of the new vegetables that will appear in the co-op and my weekly Saturday morning visits to the farmer’s market that will begin in June. After a long, cold, snowy winter, the thought of seeing anything that has come out of the ground here as opposed to California is reason for celebration!
So with the impending Easter holiday, I hadn’t really made a plan for dinner, as I had thought I’d be out of town. When those plans changed on Thursday, I started to think what would be on the menu. I always try to make something spring-like to celebrate the new season. With a meal earlier in the day with my family, dinner would be small and at the usual 8 p.m. As I perused the grocery store, I thought of what I wanted to accompany the roasted chicken I was going to make; of course, the carb-addict in me wanted stuffing, but then I thought of potato salad. As I began cooking Sunday morning in preparation for the evening, I noticed I had asparagus, frozen peas in the freezer, a little bit of a leftover shallot, so I created this as a more healthful version of the usual mayonnaise-laden side dish. While I love that, this is a different spin. If I had some fresh herbs or parsley, that would have been a nice addition.
I have had France on my brain for some reason lately and thought this would be a perfect salad to bring along on a country bike ride, since it really doesn’t need to be refrigerated. So with all the French ingredients in it, I decided to have fun with the name!
French Countryside Salad with New Potatoes and Asparagus
Apologies in advance for the approximations. This is a salad for four, but can easily be doubled to more people.
New (or small) potatoes
Asparagus (about a cup, chopped)
Frozen peas defrosted, about half a cup (or if you have new peas, that would be even better!)
1 hard boiled egg
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
White Wine Vinaigrette
Note: This is my go-to vinaigrette any time I want an easy salad dressing.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar (or you can try red wine as well, something flavorful and tart)
Salt and pepper
1. If you’re using frozen peas, take out of freezer and let them defrost in a small bowl.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add each potato individually and bring the water back to a boil and cook with the cover off. I checked each potato after about 7 minutes or so and pricked with a sharp knife to check for doneness. Each potato cooked individually based on its size, so each were taken out of the water at different times. Place in a bowl until all are finished cooking to cool. To the boiling water, add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, just enough time to blanch.
3. In a bowl, cut the potatoes into fourths or sixths. Add asparagus and peas. Mix. Add shallots and mix. Add lots of freshly ground pepper and a dash or two of salt.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the vinaigrette. (I take a little bit of olive oil, more vinegar, and about a teaspoon or so of mustard. Mix, taste, and adjust accordingly.) Add to salad and thoroughly mix. Add to serving bowl. Can be served either warm or chilled.