Potato and asparagus salad with lemon-basil dressing

Potato and asparagus salad with lemon-basil dressing

When I was growing up, the only kind of salad that I thought had potatoes in it was the classic mayo smothered potato salad. But when I started eating traditional Mediterranean and Asian foods, I discovered there are all kinds of yummy salads that feature potatoes as one of the main ingredients. Salade Niçoise from the Provence region of France, and Indonesian Gado gado salad are just two examples. Over the years we’ve also developed our own potato salads using authentic Mediterranean ingredients, such as Greek potato salad (which is one of our all-time favorite salads) and Spanish potato, tuna and white bean salad.

About two years ago we also came up with this Italian-inspired potato and asparagus salad. And it was so good that whenever asparagus is in season we usually make up at least a couple of big batches.

It’s late autumn here in New Zealand at the moment, so asparagus isn’t in season. But a couple of days ago we were at the supermarket and saw a bunch of amazingly fresh looking imported asparagus. With this salad in mind, we couldn’t resist getting it. And even though the price of the asparagus was outrageous, we have absolutely no regrets!

Potato and asparagus salad with lemon-basil dressing
Serves 4
An Italian-inspired salad with asparagus and chunks of potato coated in a lemony basil dressing.
2 lbs (900g) potatoes — peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
12 asparagus spears — ends cut off, then cut into thirds
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
½ garlic clove — minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
COOK the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, adding the asparagus for the final 6 minutes of cooking. PLACE the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a jar with screw-top lid and shake to combine. RINSE the potatoes and asparagus under cold water then drain thoroughly. PLACE them in a large bowl with the dressing and toss gently until well combined.

Variation: Use green beans instead of asparagus.