I grew up in a meat and potatoes household. Well, I should say: meat + starch + iceberg lettuce household. Which is not to downgrade my mothers magic in the kitchen. She advocated for the strange and wonderful. Homemade injera. Or Thai Tom Kha with prawns. She is truly the lady-merlin of soups. And a wonderful chef, in her own right. But, other than cheese and crackers, mango, and peach ice cream, my father’s daily cravings came down to just a couple of things : meat + starch + veg. Usually, the veg was doused in some form of mayonnaise or vinegar dressing. All of this because my mother, a true-to-her-core romantic, loves to make my father happy.
So, instead of a fabulous curry, we had a lot of chicken and rice and lettuce-tomato salads. All in all, I turned out pretty ok. But to this day I cast scorn upon all iceburg lettuce salads. And I have legitimately made rice about twice in my adult life. The sad result of over saturation in youth. And also, rice just takes for-fucking-ever.
But now that I’m all grown up, I find myself getting into rotations. I make certain types of meals pretty frequently. Tacos. Some sort of tomato based stew. An ancient grain + protein + green. OH WAIT. Is that sort of the same thing as what I grew up with, only hippie-fied? Is all of this plant-based rebellion just a farce of the culture I grew up in? Will my (someday) kids grow up and be like “KALE SALAD UGH NEVERRRRR” and look upon quinoa with disdain?
I can only hope so. I’ll have done my job and done it good.
But, you know me. In the kitchen I’m always out with the old in with the new. And as the seasons are changing here South of the Mason-Dixon line, I’m telling soup to hit the road, and salads: mi casa es su casa. Potato salads included.
Roasted Potato and Asparagus Salad
To me, the perfect early spring potato salad has bright flavors, a little crunch and tons of fresh herbs. This roasted potato and asparagus salad fits the bill. The roasted potatoes are perfectly creamy. The steamed asparagus is sweet and snappy. Add in some chickpeas and sunflower seeds for protein and texture. And top it all of with a red onion and dill dressing that’s punchy, herbaceous and pleasantly pink!
- 1 lb small mixed red / yellow / purple potatoes, eyes removed
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander, freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon whole black pepper, freshly ground
- ⅛ teaspoon fine Celtic sea salt
- 1 lb asparagus, end removed
- ¼ red onion
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- handful fresh dill (~1/8 cup) + up to ½ cup more dill, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- juice ½ lemon (~1 tablespoon)
- ¼ cup water + more as needed
- salt + black pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can)
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, toss the raw potatoes with the grapeseed oil, coriander, black pepper and salt. Spread the potatoes out on a large baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through to evenly cook the potatoes on all sides. Once fork-tender, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then place the roasted potatoes in your salad bowl.
- While the potatoes are roasting, chop the asparagus into 2" bite sized pieces. Steam them in a sauté pan with ¼ cup water for 8 minutes or until tender. Then remove and place in the bowl along with the roasted potatoes.
- Make the dressing: in the bowl of a high powered blender, combine the red onion, dijon mustard, olive oil, handful fresh dill, garlic, maple syrup, lemon juice and ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth, adding more water a tablespoon at a time as needed until the dressing comes together smoothly. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the chickpeas, sunflower seeds and the rest of the chopped dill to your salad bowl along with the asparagus and roasted potatoes. Toss with the dressing and serve immediately.