A delicious and filling potato and asparagus salad with ham, hard-boiled eggs, chives, and a simple vinaigrette.
Simple potato and asparagus salad, a light and delicious main dish salad.
Asparagus Officinalis is a perennial herb (meaning that it lives more than two years) with stout stems or spears which emerge during the spring and summer months. It is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia.
It had been cultivated and eaten for over 2000 years in Egypt, has been eaten by the Greek and the Romans in ancient times and there is even a recipe for asparagus in the oldest known cookbook – De re coquinaria from Apicius, written sometimes during the third-century AD. (Wikipedia)
In Germany, “Spargelzeit” starts mid-April and ends, traditionally, on the 24th of June or St. John the Baptist Day. Germans prefer white asparagus, while the green sort is more popular in Great Britain and North America.
In Great Britain, the season starts officially on the 23rd of April and lasts 8 weeks. In North America it is harvested from late February to June, depending on location.
However, nowadays, asparagus, especially the green one, is available all-year around.
According to The World’s Healthiest Foods (whfoods.com) “it has a nutritional uniqueness that is second to none”, researchers have identified almost 100 phytonutrient compounds in it. It is rich in fiber, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B3, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and calcium.
It only has 20 calories per 5 spears, yet, as shown above, it is packed with vitamins and minerals.
- It is a good source of vitamin K, which is a blood-clotting vitamin, can improve bone health and supports heart health.
- It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
- In the area of type 2 diabetes, it helps to achieve a “better insulin secretion and better regulation of blood sugar” and when it comes to blood pressure one compound in its extracts “has been shown to inhibit the function of an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)”, the inhibition of which can prevent the constriction of the blood vessels, which will lead to less pressure on the blood.
- The high fiber content improves digestion and also lowers the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, obesity.
- It is a natural diuretic, increasing the excretion of water from the body and it can also help to help urinary tract infections.
- It is beneficial when eaten during the pregnancy as well as it has a high folate content, which decreases the risk of neural-tube defects in fetuses.
How to cook it?
- Actually, this is the most common way of dealing with asparagus, I suppose. Plain, boiled asparagus, which can be served with different kinds of sauces, like this typical Sauce Hollandaise.
- The most important thing is not to overcook it, it should not be limp and mushy.
How to cook green asparagus?
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add a teaspoon butter, and the prepared green stalks.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness, they should still be firm to the bite or al dente.
How to cook white asparagus?
- This sort needs to be peeled before cooking. Use a vegetable peeler for that purpose.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add ½ teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon butter. Carefully place the stalks into the pot, bring to a boil again, reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness as well, check, they should still be firm to the bite or al dente.
Easy asparagus recipes:
Potato and Asparagus Salad
- 450 g/ 1 lb new potatoes
- 450 g/ 1 lb asparagus
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 3 eggs
- 200 g/ 7 oz cooked ham
- 1 handful chives
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon medium mustard
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Remove the lower third of the asparagus stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add a teaspoon butter and the asparagus. Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how thick the stalks are, they should remain rather firm or al dente. Remove from the water and drain well.
- In the meantime make the vinaigrette: whisk together the vinegar, oil, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle the asparagus with about half of the vinaigrette and rub the spears gently with the dressing. Let marinate for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender.
- Boil the eggs until hard. Leave to cool slightly, peel and chop the eggs finely. Keep a few whole slices for decoration purposes, if desired.
- Chop the ham and the chives.
- Arrange the asparagus stems and the potatoes on a platter. Top with the eggs, ham, and chives and sprinkle with the remaining vinaigrette.
- Alternatively, slices the potatoes, cut the asparagus into shorter pieces, and mix everything with the dressing.