Daily Archives: June 15, 2015

let’s eat: charred spring vegetables with vinaigrette

As the little one noted recently – we eat a lot of roasted asparagus, potatoes and hard-boiled (or nearly hard-boiled) eggs around here. So when we came home with those ingredients from the market last weekend, she requested them cooked immediately and served up on her plate.

Roasting asparagus is simple – first break off the woody end, then spread the stalks out a rimmed baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast until tipped with brown and almost crispy in a hot oven – usually between 400 and 450 depending upon what else we might have cooking in there too. This can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes, usually around fifteen. We’ve found that we really like the thinner stalks – they crisp up better and generally are less stringy to eat. But even the tougher stalks can be roasted into submission. Sometimes we add thyme, or toss with lemon zest after roasting. Other times we make a sauce to drizzle over them, but usually we just keep it simple.

When I think of potatoes and asparagus together, I always think of a mustard-y vinaigrette – especially if eggs are involved. I flipped through my new cookbook, A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, to see if she had a good dressing, and I lucked out (in a way). She makes a watercress vinaigrette, and I didn’t have watercress on hand, but I did have plenty of microgreens – a mix with a nice bite to it – so I subbed those instead. The key was really the capers and Dijon mustard – you can wing the rest. Also, this recipe has you reserve two of the asparagus stalks from roasting for garnish later.

Use about 1.5 pounds of potatoes, cleaned and cut into uniform sizes about the size of your thumb. Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for thirty minutes, then add the asparagus in for another fifteen.

Prepare soft- or hard-boiled eggs with your preferred method – we used four eggs.

Chop 2 tablespoons of capers, a nice big handful of watercress (or similar), along with a few sprigs of whatever herbs you have on hand – I had parsley and a little tarragon on its last legs. (She also suggests mint.) Add three tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and whisk to blend. Salt and pepper to taste.

Everything should come out of the oven in around 45 minutes.

Gently toss asparagus, potatoes and eggs (peeled and sliced into pretty wedges) with the dressing. Serve on a plate while still warm. Use a vegetable peeler to add asparagus curls to the top with the reserved stalks. It looks fancy and adds a nice crunch.

F preferred hers served up separately, although she mixes them as she eats. Doesn’t bother me. She licked the plate clean.