Skip to content
May 2, 2010 / littlefooteslab

Delicious Potato Macaroni Asparagus Salad

I’ve made this salad several times over the last year.  It is really good and I get excited when I have a potluck or picnic to prepare a dish for, especially if it is the type of meal that would benefit from this salad!  I’m a little scared of making it and just having it at my house because then I will eat the whole batch and really, my thighs don’t need it.

It started as a Martha Stewart Recipe but I’ve changed it quite a bit, I think my version is superior.  Also, if you follow the link to her recipe, you’ll see a photo of the salad.  Well, it’s a big lie, that photo, because if you read the ingredients and then look at the photo, you can see plain as day that the two things do not line up. The salad in the photo looks better than the salad in the recipe as written would look.  Whatever Martha. (Wasn’t that a TV show? I have never seen it, but the sentence is a good one)

I’ll go through the prep first and give you the recipe at the end.  I know there are many steps for this dish, but it’s worth it.

First, cut up a couple of yellow onions and saute them.  You want to cook these over medium heat with some olive oil and salt.  It’s going to take a while to get the caramelization that we’re after here, so start these at the beginning of the cooking session.  The photo shows the onions most of the way caramelized.

The cook the macaroni.  Go for al dente.  soggy macaroni is no good, so if there is a tiny bit of bite left to the pasta when you pull it out of the water, you’ll be in good shape.  Put it in a big bowl to cool.

Blanch the asparagus (or what ever fresh veggie you have. Green beans are good, even the frozen ones can work.)  Immediately plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process.  I think it’s a good idea to cook the stalk part first and drain and put into ice bath and then cook the tips and repeat with the ice bath.  The stalks take a couple of minutes and the tips take a little less.  It’ll depend on how thick the pieces are.  Just keep an eye so that they are just barely cooked.  You do not want soggy asparagus. yuck.

Cook the potatoes for about 7 or 9 minutes.  Fork tender baby reds. Not much is better.

Here are the sauce ingredients. Simple.

Mix the sauce in a smallish bowl and pour over all the other ingredients which you have already put into the bowl with the macaroni.  Also, throw in a bunch of chopped fresh basil. I forgot to take a photo of that process, but you don’t want to forget it in the salad, it’s wonderful.  Fresh basil is wonderful.

TADA!  So, this photo was taken the day after I made the salad. This is the secret to wonderful potato salad.  Make it the day before you want to serve it. The potatoes become one with the sauce and the flavors of all the separate ingredients just really mesh well and become extra delicious.

The recipe is vegetarian as prepared.  If you are not concerned about that, go ahead and add a pound of diced cooked bacon.  Yum!

Potato Macaroni Asparagus Salad – adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 8

  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (for onions)
  • 1/4 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 cups asparagus, washed, woody ends removed, and cut into inch long pieces, keep tips separate from stalks
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (for sauce), plus more for cooking water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Caramelize the onions-  Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Throw in the sliced onions and some salt.  Stir it around. Keep an eye on this, you’ll need to stir it every few minutes to prevent burning, it will take a while to get all caramelized and delicious.  (If you want to add bacon to the salad, cook it at this point, drain and set aside)

Cook the macaroni according to package directions for al dente.  Drain. Put in mixing bowl to cool.  The bowl needs to be large enough to hold all the ingredients.  TIP: us a spider (the spoon / wire thing in the photo above of the sauce ingredients) to get the pasts out so that you can reuse the water for the asparagus and potatoes.

Blanch the cut up asparagus stalks in salted water for just a couple of minutes.  Pull the asparagus out of the water and immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Stir it around a bit in the cold water to make sure all the pieces cool down.  This step will prevent the asparagus from over cooking.  Repeat process with asparagus tips but cook them for a little less time since they are more delicate.

Cook the potatoes in the boiling salted water for 7-9 minutes, until fork tender.  Drain and add to the bowl with the macaroni.

Drain asparagus and add to the bowl with the potatoes and macaroni.  Chop up the fresh basil, add to the bowl with the macaroni, potatoes, and asparagus.

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl.  Pour over the rest of the ingredients in the larger mixing bowl.  Fold together.  Wait to add bacon until just before serving so that it stays crispy.

This salad is best made the day before serving.



Leave a Comment
  1. Rebecca / May 3 2010 6:57 am

    Looks amazing! I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. Brandy / May 8 2010 7:46 am

    mmm… that salad looks super yummy! Am going to have to try that one! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: