ASPARAGUS WITH NEW POTATOES AND WHITE BEANS
1 cup dry great northern beans (or 1 pound can cannellini beans)
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1 bay leaf (if using dried beans)
1 pound smallest red potatoes available
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
If you are using dried beans, start preparations the night before. Pick over and rinse the beans, then soak them with water to cover by 2". The next day, drain and rinse them. Place them in a saucepan, cover with cool water, add a bay leaf and one crushed clove garlic. Bring water to a simmer, and cook the beans, uncovered, until tender, adding more water as needed to keep the beans covered.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potatoes under cool water, and dry them. Place them in a small covered casserole with the other clove crushed garlic and drizzle on 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover and bake them 25-30 minutes, until they are tender. Remove from the oven at least once during cooking and shake. Cut larger potatoes into halves or quarters so all are about the same size.
Trim coarse stems from asparagus, rinse well, peel stems if they are tough. Either steam or submerge in boiling water until just tender, 3-5 minutes. Cool and cut into 2" lengths.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and saute for 1 minute. Add the beans, asparagus and stock. Bring broth to a simmer and fold the ingredients together as the liquid reduces and thickens. Off the heat season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
Yield: 6-8 servings