This salad is a testament to what you can do when you read through a recipe and complete tasks in stages. I don’t even feel like I made this beautiful thing. I feel like someone else made it for me and delivered it to my house. But no one did that; I made this. Am I delirious? Has butter and sugar finally overtaken my brain and turned it to mush? No. I’m just thrilled at having the internet search ability to find a fantastic recipe I could make with the rest of my farmers’ market booty from this week. The result was so satisfying and so simple, I wanted to share it with you.
In the spirit of this salad, I’ll keep it short and sweet. it’s snap peas, asparagus, radishes, and pickled spring onions, all tossed together with some particularly beautiful fingerling potatoes in a mustardy sauce. Pickled spring onions, you say. that sounds difficult. Guess what; it’s not difficult at all. In fact, it made the onions so luscious, so mellow, so devoid of overpoweringly sharp onion flavor, I may just pickle my onions in every cold salad recipe from now on.
The best part: all of it can be done together, or bit by bit; you can stretch it out over a whole day if you want. Overnight, even. Which is great if you’re busy, or trying to catch up on other things, or just don’t feel like standing in your kitchen for any length of time. Here’s how I did it:
1. Sliced my onions, mixed the pickling liquid together (which took mere seconds), added onions, sealed, placed in fridge. walked away.
2. Scrubbed potatoes, placed them in a pot of water, put the pot on the stove to cook them, removed when finished, drained, left to do something else.
3. Blanched asparagus and snap peas, placed in fridge along with the cooled potatoes, did some laundry.
4. Went to bed.
5. Sliced radishes, whisked together vinaigrette (again, mere seconds to make), removed veggies from fridge, rough chopped asparagus and snap peas, tossed everything together, seasoned, back in the fridge. ran errands.
6. Came back hungry, and look at that: fresh vegetable potato salad, flavors blended, ready to go. Who broke in to my house and cooked? How considerate of them!
Adapted, without many adjustments, from one of my favorite bloggers, Deb from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve never made one of her recipes on the blog before, but i’ve made countless ones for myself. She’s one of the people who inspired me to start doing this. If you’d like to see her original recipe, it’s here.
Spring Potato + Vegetable Salad
for the onion pickles:
- 3-4 spring onions, depending on size (about 6 ounces)*
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
for the salad:
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds small new or fingerling potatoes (my little grouping contains purple, red and some tiny white ones)
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1/4 pound sugar snap peas (but you could use green beans also)
- 4-5 medium radishes, thinly sliced
for the vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
I’m going to write this post in order and pretending you’re going to do all of this at once. If you want to do it lazily and in stages because you’re busy or just like to pretend someone breaks in and makes you random salads, use my tips above and just make-and-chill everything until assembly time, with one exception: no radish slicing until it’s time to toss.
Stage 1: Onions.
First, pickle your spring onions. Whisk vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in the bottom of a small container with a lid (I like a canning jar for this) until the salt and sugar dissolve. Slice the bulbs and paler green parts into thin coins and toss them in the vinegar mixture. Seal tightly and put in fridge until you’re ready to use them; if you can put them aside for an hour or even overnight.
Stage 2: ‘Tatos.
Scrub your potatoes and place them in a medium saucepan submerged in water one inch above the top layer of potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Be sure if you have varying sizes, as I do, that you test a little and a big, removing the littles if needed. Drain the potatoes and let them cool until room temperature.
Stage 3: Green Veggies.
Fill the saucepan you boiled the potatoes in with salted water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath for your green veggies (that’s a large bowl with cold water and ice in it, people). Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. When the water reaches a full boil, add the asparagus. One minute later, add the sugar snap peas. Two minutes later, drain both together then dump them in the ice bath until chilled. Drain the vegetables and spread them out on towel to absorb excess water.
Stage 4: Assemble.
Chop the cooked asparagus spears and snap peas into 1-inch or so segments and place them in a large bowl. Chop potatoes into bite-sized chunks and add them to the bowl. Cut the radishes as thinly as possible, and cut in half if needed (I kept mine in rounds). An hour or two in advance, whisk the dressing ingredients and toss it with the vegetables, to taste. Remove pickled onions from pickling liquid and toss with the salad. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Remember, potatoes suck up seasoning, so season and taste as you go until it reaches a point where the flavors are all zingy.
Stage 5: Fridge, Season, Serve.
Place back in fridge, covered, until ready to serve. Immediately before serving, remove from fridge and taste; you’ll most likely need to season again. Add more sea salt and fresh ground pepper as needed, and serve to the delight of your co-eaters.