Spring Celebration Salad

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There is one thing you have to understand about living in the northern regions of Europe. The darkness during the winter is really, really harsh. Short, cold and grey days with a minimal amount of sunlight. And if you, like me, believe that you were meant to be born in either Italy, Hawaii or India, the darkness feels twice as draining. However on the upside, the Nordics are probably the most sun-appreciating people on this planet. Come the first rays of sunshine and a little bit of warm air and we throw off our clothes and spend hours standing like suricates, gazing at the sun. Well almost anyway.

That first day of spring happened earlier this weekend when we visited friends outside the city. We threw together two simple salads in celebration of all the early produce and enjoyed them as a lunch around a table in the garden, with sunshades on! Afterwards we strolled over to the neighbour farm to pet the newly born lambs and calves (Isac was first terrified and then almost impossible to get out of there). It felt like the perfect day and well-worth getting through all those dark months for. Even for an Italian/Hawaiian/Indian guy like myself.

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This salad is a version of the one our friends made that day. We have shared a couple of spring salads on this blog throughout the years (asparagus & buckwheat saladrhubarb & puy lentil saladegg salad – green bean salad), but what makes this one stand out is the very simple and rich butter vinaigrette that is poured over the cooked new potatoes and steamed asparagus. So delicious. We have added some lentils (you can use ready-cooked if you want to save some time and effort) and sugar peas for extra protein but any type of green beans or string beans could also be delicious. With the lentil addition, this is great as a lunch or light dinner, but it would also be a perfect side salad for a weekend bbq.

For our vegan friends, we have also tried this with a few alternative dressings with great results. Either just replace the butter with olive oil. Or try a delicious Dijon dressing by stirring together equal parts Dijon mustard and maple syrup (or honey if you prefer) with a bit of lemon juice and a good glug olive oil.

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Asparagus & Potato Salad with Butter Vinaigrette
Serves 4

The butter dressing makes this salad ideal served straight away, when the vegetables are still slightly warm.

1 1/2 lb / 800 g new potatoes
2 bunches (1 lb / 500 g) asparagus
1 cup / 100 g sugar peas
1 cup / 175 g cooked whole lentils, rinsed (we used green/brown but any color is fine)
1 small handful chives
5 radishes, very thinly sliced

Butter vinaigrette
2 oz / 60 g organic butter or ghee (use olive oil for a vegan option and skip the heating part)
2 tbsp organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 spring onion, very finely chopped
salt & black pepper

Rinse and scrub the potatoes and place them whole in a large saucepan, cover with water and add sea salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Rinse and trim the asparagus by snapping off the dry ends. Place the asparagus in a steaming basket (or use a sieve with a lid) and cover. Remove the lid from the saucepan with the boiling potatoes and place the basket on top, the steam from the boiling potato water is used to steam the asparagus. Steam until the asparagus are tender, 5-10 minutes depending on their thickness.

Finely slice the sugar peas and radishes and rinse the cooked lentils. Melt the butter on low heat for the vinaigrette. Finely chop the spring onion and add to the melted butter and stir in apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Place all salad ingredients in a bowl. Right before serving, add the butter vinaigrette and use your hands to toss until everything is coated in the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

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32 Comments

  • It looks delicious! I think that my daughter will enjoy if i do this dish for her. Thanks! Please! Share with me if you have new posts.
  • I've only heard of your dark winters and I can definitely understand getting excited for Spring more than anyone else!! A salad like this paired with sunshine is my idea of a happy time :)
  • I love the approachability and simplicity of this recipe. And the pictures as always are so gorgeous. I partciularly LOVE that big salad bowl :) Thanks for sharing and enjoy the sunshine :)
  • Yes it's so true about the light, I am longing for sunshine with every fibre, and it isn't even as dark here as it is for you. I've heard lapwings so I know spring is here and summer on its way!! Beautiful food as always, your work always makes me smile and feel joy :)
  • Sini
    Great recipe! Not sure why honey is recommended for vegans though...? :)
    • Breanna
      Some vegans choose to eat honey. It depends on the person and their reasons for being vegan. For those like my best friend who is vegan because of her love for animals, they might choose to eat honey because that actually helps the bees.
  • What a beautiful spring salad! I can't imagine how hard the winters must be for you up north with all that darkness.... but here's to sunny days and warmer temperatures!
  • Sounds delicious! It never even occurred to me to swap melted butter for oil in vinaigrette. Brilliant. Might have to make it this weekend.
  • Wow, this is such a stunning salad! I love the idea of adding lots of greens into a spring salad to symbolize the new beginnings and new chances when the sun comes out!
  • Looks so comforting! I love a salad with potatoes as it's warm and filling. I feel like it helps thicken the dressing too <3 Thank you for sharing! x
  • As someone who was born and grew up in Texas, I am definitely a huge fan of sunshine and bright light and long summer days. After moving to NYC, I almost lost it when the first winter proved some parts of the world got dark at 4PM!! So, I understand your appreciation of sunlight a lot more. This salad looks perfectly spring celebratory worthy. Yum!
  • This salad is so beautiful and fresh! I love the story that goes along with it. I am definitely a fellow sun appreciator and will stand face up to the sun not moving until I've got my fill :)
  • Know the feeling all to well.... (= feeling like someone born in the wrong climate and place.....!) ;-D As always wonderful photos! I love the mood and style.
  • I cannot wait for the proper start of spring here! We've had the official first day etc, but currently I'm still firing up our wood burner every evening, so it doesn't feel like spring yet! When the weather gets nicer out come the salads and the BBQ, I cannot wait to add this to my repertoire. This looks perfect, it's so easy to make the mistake of overcooking the potatoes and these look great.
  • What a gorgeous, balanced salad. I am totally dysfunctional without the sun light and the warmth. I can barely make it through the relatively brief winter we have over here. Spring definitely deserves a celebration 🎉
  • This looks wholesome and refreshing. I love the use of ghee for the vinaigrette!
  • Gonnie
    Absolutely love asparagus salads and this sounds so delicious and yet simple. A perfect side dish for the spring and summer!
  • Mags
    Does anyone know what font's being used for the recipe title? 'Tis lovely! Not has lovely as the recipe, mind you. I'm looking forward to trying it soon :)
    • Jeff M
      It's Hoefler Text
  • I can imagine the long days without sun would be difficult. Even in the depth of winter in NZ we still get the most beautiful crisp sunny days that gently warm your face. Loving the look of this potato salad with a buttery dressing, for now I will have to save it until we are on the other side of winter and the new potatoes begin again. Thanks for the inspiration :)
  • Such a good timing! The sun here in Italy is just starting to get warmer and with longer days ahead a salad such as this one is a must. Fantastic pictures as always. *happy spring*
  • Jenny
    Love the sound and look of this and plan to make it next weekend when we are having an early bbq party. Thanks!

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