Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green bean and potato salad

So my mom always makes something very similar to this in the summer. When I was a kid I hated it. HATED it. I'm not sure why. I think I have unresolved potato issues. I have always found them boring and bland when they are simply boiled, and since this recipe relies on potatoes in their plain boiled state, it is totally yanking my chain. But! It turns out that lovely green beans and potatoes fresh from the summertime farmers market are extraordinary with a simple treatment, and that's all this is.

Take equal amount green beans and small new potatoes. I used probably ½ pound of each. Trim the green beans down to about 1 ½ inch pieces and set aside. Cut the potatoes in half, then lay each half down on the cut side and slice again to cut them into quarter. If your potatoes are teeny to begin with, this should be small enough. Otherwise, just cut your larger potatoes into small chunks whatever way possible. Now get a pot of salted water heated up on the stove. When it is boiling rapidly, toss in your potato chunks. Keep an eye on them--the time to cook will vary depending on how many you have put in and how big the pieces are. Less of either of those factors = less cooking time. My small quarters of potatoes took less than 10 minutes to become tender but not crumbly. You should fish one out and try to stick a fork in it--should have some resistance to it still but definitely not be raw. At that point, dump in the green beans and let them cook for another 3 minutes. Fish one out and bite it to see if it's done to your liking. If so, drain everything and put in a bowl big enough to mix up in. While the veggies are still hot, pour a vinaigrette over them that you made from 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar or the juice from one lemon, salt and pepper. I used white wine vinegar the time I made this recently. A small spoonful of dijon mustard is an interesting variation in the dressing too. Anyway you make it is fine--a matter of personal taste. Toss it gently with the still-hot vegetables, making sure to use a light hand so you don't mash your potatoes. Fresh chives snipped in at the very end would also be a great and very summery addition.

And now, a small interlude to point out that Melanie has discovered a really great new way to get drunk. It's wine in a box! Apparently it keeps for 4 weeks or so, not that we've had it around long enough to find out. And believe it or not, but the wine is pretty decent. Anyway, I love the packaging and the fun of the little tap. Just pour yourself another! And another!

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