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A potato salad for a hot, summery day

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With all the hot weather we’ve had, sometimes we prefer a lighter meal. Also, we don’t want to turn on the oven and heat up the whole house.

There are a couple of options: one is to order a takeout lunch on the Chef Duff at RiverSong patio, and the other is to try this delicious entrée salad.

If you live in Waterloo Region, you won’t be shocked to learn that potato salad likely originated in Germany and travelled around the world from there. I doubt it physically got on a boat or plane and travelled to North America, but immigrants and visitors of many cultures brought their recipes and culinary ideas with them.

European-style potato salads would traditionally have been made with a vinaigrette dressing, often served warm. The idea of using mayonnaise or other creamy dressings was more of an American idea.

This recipe has three components, which really adds to the presentation, as well as not making the greens soggy.

The “new” potatoes are ideal for salad as they are not as starchy and don’t stick together.

I like to lightly blanch green veggies (beans, broccoli, asparagus, etc.) before adding to a salad, just to take a little of the harder crunch out. The act of “shocking” a vegetable is not to apply an electric current to it, nor is it to tell it a scandalous story. It’s a culinary term referring to a drastic change in temperature. After dropping the vegetable into boiling water for a minute or two, you then immediately plunge into ice water, which will not only stop the process from overcooking it, but also retain the bright green colour.

Asparagus and Minted New Potato Salad

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 60mL olive oil
  • 20 mL raspberry vinegar
  • 2 lbs baby tri-colour potatoes
  • 15g sundried tomatoes
  • 500mL mayonnaise
  • 30mL white wine
  • 1 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • Salt, pepper
  • Ground cloves

Drop asparagus into boiling salted water for 2 minutes and shock in ice water.

Drain and marinade with olive oil, vinegar and salt, pepper.

Place potatoes in pot with a little salt and half the mint – boil until tender, drain and cool.

Combine mayo with diced tomato, wine, seasoning and additional mint, then toss with potatoes.

Arrange spinach on plate and top with potato salad – garnish with asparagus.

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