Asparagus No-coise Salad

Well the experts say it can’t be a Nicoise salad without tomatoes, but we’re many weeks away from having any of those.  This salad matches asparagus and snap peas with the potatoes, capers, olives and eggs for a hardy, intense flavored full-meal salad.

Boil salted water in 1 large pot and 1 smaller pot.  Turn off the heat and drop 4 eggs into the larger pot.  Let sit for 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.  You can use the same water to cook the asparagus.

Cook 3-4 potatoes in the smaller pot, keeping the water just barely simmering until the potatoes are tender.

Prepare a cold-water bath.  When the potatoes are done, drop them in to cool.  Remove and drain.

Soak 1 bunch of asparagus in water, then drain and trim or snap the tough bottoms.  Drop the asparagus into the large pot.  When it returns to a boil, remove it and transfer to the cold water bath.  Once it has cooled, drain and cut it into 2″ pieces.

Pull the strings off 1 C. snap peas.  Drop into the hot water and remove after 1 minute then rinse with cold water.  Cut the peas in half.

Thinly slice 1 spring onion bulb to make 1/2 C.  Marinate in 3 T. white wine vinegar for 10 minutes, then add 2 t. Dijon Mustard and 2 T. olive oil plus salt and pepper.  Add 1 T. capers and 4 minced anchovy fillets (optional).

Toss the asparagus and peas with half the dressing first.  Cut 3/4 C. of nicoise or other quality olive in halves, pitting if necessary.  Add to the vegetables and toss.

Soak 1/2 head or more of lettuce leaves in water then rinse and spin dry.  Tear roughly into pieces.

Cut the eggs in halves or quarters.

Toss the potatoes with the other vegetables.

Toss the lettuce leaves in a bowl with the other half of the dressing.  Distribute the lettuce on to each plate you are serving, then place a scoop of vegetables on the lettuce.  Then place a few egg slices and a handful of olives on each plate.

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