Pickled Spring Onion, Asparagus and Potato Salad

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Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

Like most people, I grew up on a classic potato salad made with a mayonnaise dressing—the kind that accompanies every backyard barbecue. As a cook, discovering the world of vinaigrettes meant total creativity and became integral to our cooking at The Plate. We dress all kind of grilled, roasted and blanched vegetables with this mustard vinaigrette. The salsa verde gives the potatoes a delicious herbiness, and is also great as a condiment on its own. The addition of pickled spring onions and asparagus to this potato salad celebrates all that’s delicious about Spring—and the mayonnaise-free dressing will surely stand up to the heat of summertime backyard parties, too.

Serves 6

2 pounds small new or fingerling potatoes, washed and quartered
salt and pepper to taste
1¼ pounds asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
4 small-to-medium radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped chives
1–2 cups mixed spring garden herbs, like parsley, tarragon, dill, and basil
salsa verde (see recipe below)
mustard vinaigrette (see recipe below)
pickled spring onions (see recipe below)

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with one inch of water, adding 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife easily pierces through a potato. Drain the potatoes and let them cool on a sheet pan until they’re almost room temperature. (You can hasten this by covering them with cold water, and replacing the water a few times as it warms up.) Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, and quarter them if they’re really large.

Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring it to a boil. Prepare an ice bath—a large bowl with ice and water in it. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus and cut the stalks into ½ inch diagonal pieces. Once the water is boiling, add asparagus.

After 2 minutes, drain and transfer to the ice bath until chilled. Drain the asparagus again and spread it out on a towel to absorb excess water. Place the cooled asparagus in a large bowl. Add the potatoes, radishes, chives, and herbs. An hour or two before you’re ready to serve the salad, stir in the salsa verde and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat everything well. Stir in as many drained pickled onions as you like, saving the rest for anything and everything. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

For the pickled spring onions:
3 spring onions (about 6 ounces)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I use Diamond brand; use less if you’re using Morton or table salt)
1½ teaspoons sugar

Whisk vinegar, water, salt and sugar together in the bottom of a small container with a lid until the salt and sugar dissolve. Slice the bulbs and paler green parts into very thin coins and submerge them in the vinegar mixture. Cover and put in fridge until you’re ready touse them; if you can, put them aside for an hour or even better, overnight.

For the mustard vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly add extra-virgin olive oil, whisking until emulsified.

For the salsa verde:
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, picked
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Add mixture to a food processor and pulse until well combined, but not too smooth. Adjust seasonings and add more salt or vinegar if needed. The mixture should be tangy and saucy.

This story appeared in the Spring 2016 issue.