I could start this post in exactly the same way as I began telling you about my lamb meatballs a couple of days ago: the weather always decides what I eat. I finally had a day off work that coincided with day of sunshine, so I made plans to break out the grill and made a big potato salad to launch the start of outdoor dining season.
When it comes to making potato salads, I take the same approach I do with pasta salads: the starch to stuff ratio needs to be almost 1:1 and the dressing should (almost always) be a vinaigrette. This spring version is made with fingerling potatoes, which I left whole, an entire bunch of asparagus, and a slick of black olive vinaigrette. It’s at its best served a little warm and lovely aside a piece of grilled fish or a steak.
Ready? Let’s go! Fingerling potatoes and asparagus will make up the bulk of our salad along with shallot and a handful of parsley leaves. We’ll need olives, anchovies, mustard, oil, and vinegar for the dressing.
Blanch the asparagus and towel it dry. Boil the potatoes. Whisk up a vinaigrette with plenty of chopped olives, anchovies, and a spoonful of Dijon mustard.
Toss the potatoes with the vinaigrette while they’re still hot so they can really soak up the flavor. Add the asparagus and parsley and you’re ready to hit the patio!
I really like this potato salad when it’s first made and the potatoes are still warm. It makes a great side dish, but if you want it to be the main event, slices hard-cooked eggs and/or oil-packed tuna are nice additions.
- 1 large bunch Asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut in 1½ in. lengths
- 1½# Fingerling Potatoes (if any are significantly larger than the other, cut them in half)
- 1 Shallot, thinly sliced
- about ½ c. Italian Parsley Leaves
For the Olive Vinaigrette:
- ¼ c. minced Kalamata Olives
- 3 Anchovy Fillets, minced into a fine paste (or you could use a squirt of anchovy paste)
- 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl.
- Drop the asparagus into the boiling and cook until it becomes bright green and is crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes, depending on the thickness of your spears. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking. When the asparagus has thoroughly cooled, drain, and pat dry with a towel.
- Add the potatoes to the boiling water and boil until tender when poked with a knife, 10-15 minutes (again this will vary with the size of your potatoes). Drain.
- While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette to make a thick, chunky purply-black dressing. Season with freshly ground black pepper (between the olives and the anchovies, there should already be plenty of salt).
- Put the warm potatoes in a large bowl and toss with half of the olive vinaigrette. Add the asparagus and sliced shallot and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Finally, add the parsley leaves and gently toss, once more. The salad is best served immediately while the potatoes are still a little warm. If you prepare it ahead, be sure to let it come to room temperature before serving.
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