I always like to have a few different ways of preparing asparagus so I can really make the most of the short season. This salad can be prepared in next to no time, making it perfect for a work-from-home lunch, or when you’re really short on time. Feel free to add some tinned tuna if you’re a fish eater, and tarragon is a lovely alternative to the basil. When it comes to making the dressing, start with 1 tbsp of vinegar and taste it. Some people like their vinegar to be subtle, some like a bigger hit, so start at the lower end of the scale and add more if you want a little more acidity. Crusty bread on the side is never wrong.
Asparagus, potato & white bean salad
Serves 2 generously or 4 if part of a bigger spread
500 g waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 cm dice
500 g bunch of green asparagus, woody ends snapped off and discarded, then chopped into 2.5 cm lengths
400 g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 tbsp basil, finely shredded
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp fine salt
Add the peeled and chopped potatoes to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are nice and soft.
You can use a separate pan to cook the asparagus (add to already boiling water, and make sure to salt the water too), but I usually just toss it in with the potatoes for the last two minutes of cooking. However you choose to cook them, give them only two minutes in the water so they retain some crispness.
Drain the potatoes and the asparagus and then spread them out over a clean chopping board or large metal tray. Allow to cool, preferably to room temperature, but if they’re just warm it’s ok. They just shouldn’t be piping hot when adding to the other ingredients.
In a large salad bowl, add the the beans, capers and basil. In a jug or a jar, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar and ½ tsp of salt.
When the potatoes and asparagus have cooled sufficiently, add them to the salad bowl, then toss the whole lot together with the whisked dressing.
You can serve the salad immediately or store it in the fridge overnight. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before eating.