Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Potatoes, asparagus, and snap peas...

Baby potatoes, asparagus, sugar snap peas are all vegetables that make me think of spring, and that I have been waiting to show up again at grocery store!  Although these veggies are not in season in Minnesota yet, they are now available to those of us living here.  I would much prefer to buy them at the farmer's market, but until then the grocery store will do!  On a recent trip there, I noticed that asparagus was on sale and had to pounce on it since it is normally way overpriced.  I thought it would go well in a salad since the stalks were tender and young, and bought some snap peas and crisp romaine to go along with it.  I then walked by the potatoes and upon viewing the Peruvian purple potatoes I decided that I must buy some of those as well since they were such a beautiful color.  To balance it out I grabbed some German butterball potatoes as well.  So what would dress my salad of spring inspired veggies?  I make vinaigrettes a lot, and although a lemon vinaigrette would have been good, I decided to change it up a bit and make a creamy lemon tahini dressing and throw in some toasted sesame seeds for even more flavor.  The recipe I have included makes extra dressing than the amount that you need for the salad, but you will be glad to have it if you make it since it is delicious and keeps well for a while in the fridge.  The salad turned out wonderfully, and I will definately be making it again, especially when the farmer's market opens! 

Tahini Dressed Crisp Romaine Salad with Baby Potatoes, Asparagus, and Snap Peas
Serves 2 generously

Tahini Dressing:
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup water
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 cups baby potatoes, halved if more than 2 inch diameter
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup thin asparagus, cut into 2 inch long pieces
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

In a food processor, combine dressing ingredients and process until smooth, set aside 1/3 cup and reserve the rest for another use (keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks). In a medium pot, place the potatoes, about a tsp salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted into one of the potatoes pierces it easily, but not mushy. Drain potatoes, run cold water over them, and let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, lettuce, snap peas, asparagus, sesame seeds, and the reserved 1/3 cup dressing. Toss to coat, and divide between 2 plates.

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