You can do much of the slicing and dicing for this side dish ahead of time. Then, boil the vegetables just before guests arrive so the potatoes are warm when served. Though you might be tempted to cook the asparagus and potatoes together, blanch the green spears separately to set their color and crisp-tender texture.
Make Ahead: The asparagus can be cooked a day in advance, then drained, rolled up in a kitchen towel and refrigerated in a plastic bag.
Servings: 10 - 12 side-dish
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus (about 1 1/2 bunches), ends snapped off and discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 pounds small new potatoes (preferably baby Yukon Gold), cut into bite-size pieces (halved or quartered, depending on their size)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (about 1/2 onion)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
- 1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (use the large holes on a box grater), plus 1/4 cup for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus pieces and cook until they turn bright green and become crisp-tender, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the thickness of the spears. Immediately drain under cold running water, tossing gently, until the asparagus is at room temperature.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the liquid is barely bubbling; cover and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tines of a fork, about 3 minutes. Drain well in a colander and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Add the vinegar to the warm potatoes and stir to combine; then add the oil, onion, mint, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, 1 cup of cheese and the asparagus, and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining thyme and cheese, and serve.
From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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