I came up with this dish on a super hot, humid summer day. I knew I wanted to make something quick and easy on the stovetop, to limit the heat I'd be adding to my non-air-conditioned home. I got out the sautee pan and some leftover steamed fingerling potatoes (leftover potatoes always come in handy!), as well as fresh asparagus and leeks. In a few minutes, I had a light but satisfying summer meal.
Asparagus is one of my favorite foods and was certainly a favorite during pregnancy. I think of it as a pregnancy superfood: it is a great source of folate, which is crucial in pregnancy for preventing neural tube defects -- serious defects of the brain and spinal cord. Asparagus is also loaded with antioxidants Vitamin C and beta carotene, as well as the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium.
I paired this yummy green veggie in a hash with two other vegetables that are complementary in both flavor and nutrition: leeks, another good source of both vitamin C and folate; and potatoes, which provide Vitamin C, B6, copper, potassium, and manganese.
- 1 leek, white part only
- about 2 cups diced, cooked potatoes (I used fingerlings, but have also made it with new potatoes)
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 2.5 cups when chopped)
- 2-3T extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- red pepper flakes, optional
- chives, optional (you know I always have to add chives to everything)
Wash your leek well; they are often very sandy and no one wants to hit a piece of sand when they're eating. Slice thinly.
Heat large sautee pan over medium heat with 1-2T EVOO. Add leeks, potatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if using).
Stir to combine, but don't overmix: you don't want to end up with mashed potatoes; you do want all the taters to stick to the pan just a bit to get that delicious caramelization. It should take a few minutes for the leeks to become translucent and tender and for the potatoes to get browned.
In the meantime, chop your asparagus and discard the tough, woody ends. I left my tips whole and then cut the rest into approximately 1/2-inch pieces. Once potatoes and leeks are nicely browned, add the asparagus and another 1T of EVOO.
Toss gently and cover for about five minutes (give or take, depending on the thickness of your spears), until the asparagus is bright green and tender:
Now, this is a perfectly lovely and filling vegan dish as is; it would serve about two people as an entree and would be wonderful next to a big, fresh salad. If you want to add protein, I'd throw in some cooked white beans.
But for those of you out there who are not vegan, you might want to try topping it with dabs of goat cheese, shaved parmesan, or shredded cheddar. Or you could do what I did and top it with an egg. As we've mentioned previously, eggs are a fantastic source of protein and choline, essential for healthy fetal brain development.
I used the same pan in which I'd cooked the hash (fewer dishes to wash up after dinner!) and fried an egg in a bit of butter: I wanted to get a crispy edge, which adds amazing texture to the dish.
When you break the runny egg, it makes this delish sort-of-sauce for the hash. So good! If you are serving this hash with eggs, you should be able to fit about four eggs on top, so I'd call that four servings.
As I noted in our Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Eggs post, it is recommended that only fully-cooked eggs be consumed during pregnancy. If you're already at the breastfeeding stage, enjoy these runny eggs! If you're pregnant and this post has you drooling, try this as as a side dish to an omelette or some scrambled eggs.
I've been making big batches of this hash and then, every day, I just need to reheat a portion and make a fresh egg. I'm addicted, I tell ya! It's incredibly satisfying and filling and is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner: I should know, I've tried it at every meal.