This salad - Potato Salad with Morels, Asparagus & Basil Vinaigrette - hails from the fantastic blog, Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef. Potatoes with morels, a killer combination, right? (Anything with morels...) I noticed right away that the recipe is wonderfully adaptable to whatever is in season, so when I spotted the first batch of sugar snap peas at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market, they became part of the salad too. Oh look, two artichokes in the cooler, better steam them, slice the hearts, and toss them in as well. You can riff endlessly on this concept, all summer long, knowing that just about anything would be improved by that gorgeous basil vinaigrette. Chill leftover dressing and spoon over fresh greens or tomatoes or fish or chicken...
We enjoyed the salad alongside barbecued pork ribs and grilled whole chickens - a feast, in honor of all the guests who came to Minnesota to celebrate my husband John's 50th birthday. (Yes, his birthday was in April, but we held the party this past Sunday. More on that later.) We groaned our way through a few bites of pots de creme for dessert, via the excellent Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz (a-ma-zing book). I'll post that recipe later in the week too. You'll want that recipe, yes you will.
After the guests and parties, we're winding down. Tidying up, sorting through photos, getting to bed early. I'm all about the parties, but I love the quiet afterward too.
Potato Salad wth Morels, Asparagus & Basil Vinaigrette
Adapted from a recipe by Gluten-Free Girl
2 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed not peeled
1 large bunch asparagus, tough ends discarded, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, ends and tough strings removed
1/2 lb. morel mushrooms (or whatever mushroom is in season), halved and carefully cleaned
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large shallots or 1 small sweet onion, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put potatoes in a large soup pot and cover with several inches of generously salted cold water. Put pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover and continue to boil until potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife. Drain potatoes and spread on a baking sheet to cool. Cut potatoes in half (or quarters if they're large) and add to a large salad bowl.
While the potatoes cook, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Have access to a slotted spoon and prepare a large bowl of ice water and place near the pot. Add the asparagus to the boiling water, leave it for 1 minute (no more), then using the slotted spoon, scoop it out and into the ice water. When the water boils again, add the pea pods, leave for 1 minute, and scoop into the ice water. Discard boiling water. When the vegetables are cool, drain and transfer to paper towels to dry. Add vegetables to the potatoes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then mushrooms and a light sprinkle of salt. When the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, remove from heat and allow to cool. Add mushrooms to the potatoes and vegetables.
Top with shallots and vinaigrette (you won't use all of the vinaigrette). Toss gently, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. (Can be prepared one day ahead; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Makes about 1.5 cups
1 c. basil leaves, packed firm
1/4 c. Italian parsley leaves
1 shallot, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 c. mild olive oil or half canola/half extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt, several grinds of black pepper
Put all ingredients in a blender except the oil. Turn on the blender to begin pureeing everything. Drizzle in the oil slowly. (Can be made one day ahead; chill. Leftovers keep for about one week.)