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1. Snap off and discard woody bases from fresh asparagus. If desired, scrape off scales. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.
2. In a 2-quart saucepan cook the potatoes, covered, in a small amount of lightly salted boiling water for 12 minutes. Add asparagus. Cook, covered, about 4 minutes more or until asparagus is crisp-tender and potatoes are tender; drain. Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. Meanwhile, for dressing, combine the olive oil, shredded lemon peel, salt, and thyme. Add to the vegetables, tossing gently to coat. If desired, garnish with sprigs of thyme. Serve warm. Makes 8 side-dish servings