[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]
Last week, this column focused on Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers cookbook, and how it's basically the greatest weeknight meal guide since publishing was invented back in 1477 by Irving P. Simonandschuster.
This week, we're, uh, focusing on the same thing.
Wait! Don't go away! Potato Salad with Green and White Beans is really good. I promise. A mayo-less summer side dish meant to feed a crowd, it's entirely suitable for picnics, clambakes, garden parties, and/or any other meal involving no heating implement and a gingham blanket.
To be honest, I was expecting good, not great things. The salad's made from fairly humdrum ingredients, and I was concerned that a big bowl of beans, potatoes, and more beans would bore potential eaters. The textural and size differences seemed a tad strange, as well. Hopefully, my barbecue guests wouldn't find them off-putting.
I needn't have worried. The dish went over like gangbusters. It was just as good hot as it was cold, and it didn't turn to mush, as potato salads are wont to do. A double batch served 12 people at a rainy backyard barbecue, and even provided a few office lunches for the days following. I will be making it again.
One note: The recipe times are very important here, particularly for the spuds. Left to cook two minutes too long, they will disintegrate later on. Pay attention, and test a thicker slice with a knife when they're almost done boiling. It should pierce fairly easily, with a little resistance.
So, Simple Suppers comes through again. We'll see what the next few meals yield, but I'm pretty certain this will be a
- Yield:at least 6
- 5 red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 pound green beans
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/3 teaspoon table salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onions
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
Fill a large pot with water. Salt it and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, cut each half into 1/2-inch slices (half moons). When water is boiling, add potatoes. Cook about 10 minutes, until they're barely tender.
While potatoes are boiling, chop stem ends from green beans and cut each bean in half. Then, in a large serving bowl, combine oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk together. Add basil and onions. Stir again.
After potatoes are cooked, remove them from boiling water using a slotted spoon or spider. Dump in bowl with vinaigrette. Add green beans to the hot water and cook about 4 or 5 minutes, until they're crisp-tender.
Drain green beans and add to bowl on top of potatoes. Pour in white beans. Mix everything thoroughly, but gently. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm (great), cold (pretty good), or at room temperature (very good). If there are leftovers, store 'em in the fridge and give 'em a good stir before re-serving.