Asparagus is plentiful at local farmers markets, and we've got another dish that highlights it alongside the best of springtime food: Katharine Tallmadge's asparagus and potato salad with lemon-garlic-herb dressing and salmon.
This dish is great for dinner, but is also perfect for a make-ahead lunch or to double and bring to a potluck.
Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that can help with ailments as varied as depression and arthritis. Studies have confirmed the positive effects of omega-3s on heart disease patients, Tallmadge says, and research suggests the fatty acids may reduce the risk of diabetes, enhance bone density, and inhibit proliferation of cancer cells.
The mix of veggies provides a wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants, and the potatoes and mayo balance out the dish, making it a perfectly nutritious and filling meal. If you're not a fan of poached salmon, try it grilled or smoked.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving nutrition: 313 calories, 14.4 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 31.5 grams protein.
Ingredients for dressing:
1/8 cup mayonnaise, preferably made with canola or olive oil
Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped (substitute fresh dill if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ quart asparagus (about ½ bunch)
½ pint small new potatoes with skin, cleaned but not peeled
Red bell pepper
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, chopped (white part only)
1 pound salmon
1 bunch fresh dill
½ teaspoon salt
1) Prepare the dressing in a bowl large by mixing the mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and tarragon. Add halved cherry tomatoes and chopped green onions and place in refrigerator.
2) Steam the asparagus for about 3 minutes, until they are al dente (firm, with resistance to the bite). Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Slice into two-inch pieces and add to the bowl of dressing in the refrigerator.
3) Slice the new potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and add to the salad in the fridge.
4) Roast the red bell pepper over an open gas burner or under a broiler. Let cool for a few minutes, then chop into 1-inch squares. Add to the salad in the fridge, and toss everything together.
5) Place salmon in a large frying pan and cover with cold water. Add salt and dill and cover with lid. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes in the hot water. Remove the fish from the water when the flesh is opaque when checked with a fork. Let cool or serve hot.
6) Top each serving of salad with a salmon filet, and enjoy.
Katherine Tallmadge, a registered and licensed dietitian, is the author of Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations and the president of the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association.