New potatoes & asparagus in butter & herbs
This recipe is based on the simple idea that butter and vegetables belong with each other, in the same way the shore belongs to the sea, the moon to the night, or a child to its mother.
Try to find freshly dug new potatoes, and asparagus that’s been cut only a day or so before cooking – you’ll notice such a difference, in both flavor and texture. Be generous with the herbs, but don’t worry if you can’t find all the varieties listed below – a combination of mint and parsley alone will do fine.
500g (1lb 2oz) new potatoes, cut into large bite-sized chunks
2 teaspoons fine salt
50g (1¾oz) butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely chopped with a few leaves left whole
small bunch of chives, finely chopped with a few left long
small bunch of chervil, finely chopped with a few leaves left whole
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
24 asparagus spears, trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large pan. Cover generously with cold water and set over a high heat. Add the salt and bring the water to the boil. Cook the potatoes for 8–15 minutes (cooking time will vary according to the variety and freshness of the potatoes), until tender.
Drain the potatoes in a colander, then return them to the pan. Add the butter, half the olive oil and half the chopped herbs. Spoon over the vinegar, then season the potatoes really well with salt and plenty of pepper. Tumble everything together to rough up the potatoes slightly, which makes everything more delicious and buttery. Cover and keep warm.
Fill another pan with water and bring the water to the boil over a high heat. Add the asparagus spears and cook for 2–4 minutes (the cooking time will vary according to the age and size of the asparagus), until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Trickle over the remaining olive oil and season well.
Scatter the warm potatoes over a large serving platter. Arrange the asparagus over the top. Finish the dish with the remaining chopped herbs, and a few whole ones, and bring to the table immediately.
Published by Quadrille Books