I intended to post this recipe in time for Easter last weekend — it would have made the perfect side for Easter brunch. Alas, life (read: two-year-old Rose) got in the way and I didn’t get around to it. BUT I am actually glad, because I wouldn’t want to pigeon-hole this recipe to one holiday meal. This herby, buttery potato and asparagus dish deserves a place on many a menu this spring. It relies on the magical combination of lemon, butter (ghee — even better), garlic and herbs. So simple, yet so delicious. With spring ingredients, I usually find simple preparations are best to let the delicate flavors shine.
Why ghee? You could certainly use regular butter for this dish (although, I would at least recommend a high-quality pasture-raised cultured butter); however, I like using organic grass-fed ghee for both the flavor and the health benefits. I started incorporating ghee into my diet when Rose was born and I discovered she had a cow’s milk protein allergy. In order to continue breastfeeding, I completely cut out all dairy until she outgrew the allergy around 12 months. Ghee was a welcome exception, because while it is “dairy”, it is clarified to remove water and milk solids, which include lactose and the casein protein that caused Rose’s allergy. Lactose and casein are the culprits for many of the digestive woes some people experience when they consume dairy, so many find ghee to be much easier on the digestive system than regular butter. Other benefits of ghee include:
- High smoke point, making it ideal for medium or high heat cooking (oils with lower smoke points release unhealthy free radicals when used at high heat)
- High in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Good source of butyric acid, which helps improve digestive function and fight inflammation
- Rich source of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), which may help lower cholesterol, prevent cancer and burn fat
Also, it’s delicious! During the clarification process it takes on a nutty, almost caramel-like flavor that is downright addictive. It is a more butter-y butter. Yum.
The nutty ghee combined with bright lemon, fresh herbs and garlic truly elevates this side dish into something special. Also, it’s quick and easy, requiring only one pot, 20 minutes and simple ingredients. A couple tips: make sure you generously salt the water in which you cook the asparagus and potatoes and remember to toss the potatoes with the lemon juice while they are still hot. Both steps ensure very flavorful potatoes.
This recipe is great as a side dish for a frittata at brunch or roast salmon for dinner. Enjoy!! xo Maggie
- 1 lb asparagus (about 1 bunch), washed, trimmed of woody stems and sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1.5 lbs new potatoes, washed (the smaller the better; yellow or red work in this recipe)
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp grass-fed ghee (or butter)
- 1 tbsp each parsley, chives and dill, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil over high heat.
- Add the asparagus. Blanch for 2 minutes. While the asparagus cooks, fill a bowl with ice water to have at the ready. The asparagus is ready when it is tender, but still al dente and bright green. Using a sieve or slotted spoon (don’t drain the cooking water!), transfer asparagus to the ice bath to stop cooking. Once cooled, drain asparagus and set aside.
- Bring the water back up to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil for about 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. While the potatoes cook, chop your herbs and garlic and gather the remaining ingredients. The potatoes are ready when they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot.
- Squeeze half of the lemon over the hot potatoes (about 1 tablespoon of juice), stirring to coat. Let the potatoes sit for just a few minutes to allow to cool slightly before adding the other ingredients.
- Add the cooked asparagus, ghee, juice of the remaining lemon half, chopped herbs, minced garlic, lemon zest, salt and freshly ground pepper to the pot. Toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with more herbs and lemon zest if desired. Enjoy!