Eating for Two: Potato Salad with Salmon and Green Beans

I am going through a period of less-than-fantastic eating not because baby is demanding unhealthy food but because I am having trouble motivating to plan and cook dinner. It's an early springtime thing, I think. It's tempting to goof off or take an extra long walk in the park instead of battling the crowds at the grocery store, and the Greenmarket won't be bursting with temptation and inspiration for another month or so.

Frequently I dream of conquering dinnertime laziness by gathering in one place all my favorite fast and simple dinners that do not require same-day shopping, but for some reason I always get hung up on this question of format: should the recipes live in a blog, a beautiful notebook, a Google document, Tastebook? Instead of scribbling recipes from the internet onto index cards, shouldn't I print neatly and keep a proper box?

This would seem to be all the more urgent now that I ought be getting my domestic ducks in a row before baby turns life upside down, but I continue to dither and keep recipes in a dozen different places. (I know what you're thinking: how is this person going to raise a child? Trust me, I have my moments of doubt, too!) When I finally solve this pressing problem, here's one recipe I know will make the cut: potato salad with salmon and green beans.

I found a recipe like this one on the internet a few years ago and emailed it to myself without attribution, so I'm afraid I don't know now who inspired me to start fiddling with these ingredients (see lack of organization above). Though it appealed to me as a way to eat canned salmon, which is always wild and usually cheaper than fresh wild salmon, I didn't get around to trying it until this January, when I began trying to squeeze more low-mercury fish into my prenatal diet. This is a fairly fast and healthy meal that fills you up without weighing you down, and it happens to taste pretty good, too. I rely on it especially as an end-of-week dinner: if I go grocery shopping on Sunday, the potatoes and green beans will still be good to go Thursday or Friday night.


  • 3/4-1 pound smallish Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • White wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can salmon, about 6 ounces, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers (or to taste)


  1. 1.

    Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait, halve the potatoes and slice 1/4 inch thick. Chop the green beans into bite-sized pieces. When the water boils, add the potatoes and cook 3-5 minutes, just until tender. Test/taste frequently near the end to get the texture just right. Remove the cooked potatoes with a slotted spoon to a colander. When the water comes back to a boil, add the green beans and cook until just done, about 3 minutes. Remove the cooked beans with a slotted spoon to the colander.

  2. 2.

    Make the dressing. How much you need depends a lot on your personal preferences. I like starting with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice into which I whisk a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Then I whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil.

  3. 3.

    Put the potatoes and beans in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add the drained salmon and capers and toss again. Taste and add more dressing, capers, salt, and pepper if necessary. This salad is also nice with hard-boiled eggs on the side.

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