Potato, asparagus and mint salad – absolutely divine!

3 Aug

 This salad has to be my number one favourite.  I could eat it alone but it excels as an accompaniment to any meat or fish dish.  We served it with the barbecued poussins and it was absolutely delicious.  The mint flavour really lifts it and, of course, it contains one of my favourite foods, asparagus.

Did you know that asparagus can grow 10 inches in 24 hours?  It comes in three colours, green, white and purple.  The green asparagus is readily available and is possibly the most popular.  I have seen the white asparagus in Spain, usually limp and soggy out of a jar or on a salad.  I, personally, think there is no taste to this and it is repulsive.  I have never seen the purple variety. 

Asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Potassium, crucial for heart function and a key player in muscle contraction.  Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting.  Folate, prevents anaemia.  It is a strong diuretic and has been found useful in treating swelling associated with rheumatism and arthritis as well as bloating in PMS related water retention.

The fact that I was most interested in, however, is why does it make your pee smell?  Apparently you must have the right gene to be able to smell it but for those who have, which includes me and my husband, I can tell you it is a really strong, weird smell.  I first noticed it when we started eating asparagus while we lived in California.  I thought there was something wrong with the drains to our apartment!!!  The smell is caused by sulphur-containing compounds that are created when asparagus is digested.  They don’t have any harmful effect on our health so , no worries, just don’t pee in a public lavatory after you have eaten asparagus.  The smell is noticeable after only 15 minutes of eating it!

We were introduced to asparagus by Chinese Eddie.  He was a fantastic old gent (over 90 yrs old) who lived in our complex.  In his youth he used to work in the asparagus fields around Woodland Hills.  His top tips were always buy asparagus with the thickest stalks as these have matured and have a much better flavour. Hold the tip and the end and bend the asparagus, it will break at the natural point so you can discard the woody bit, and don’t over cook, it needs only 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water before it is ready.

Here is the recipe.  I hope you try it, you are in for a treat.

Potato, asparagus and mint salad                                 Serve 4

  • 500g new potatoes
  • 2 packs asparagus tips
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put in a pan of boiling, lightly salted water.  Bring back to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and cool.  Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. In the meantime, put the onion in a bowl and add the vinegar and oil.  Mix well and leave to marinade.
  3. Bring the pan of water back to the boil then add the asparagus.  Bring back to the boil again the simmer for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender.  Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Dry on kitchen paper.
  4. Add the potatoes, asparagus and chopped mint to the onion.  Toss lightly so all the vegetables are coated in the dressing and serve.

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2 Responses to “Potato, asparagus and mint salad – absolutely divine!”

  1. angela cairns June 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    My favourite

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