Michael Natkin's Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

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[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

It is officially potato salad season. And while we're all for the all-American mayo dressed version, sometimes we like to mix up our picnics and barbecues with something a little different. Adapted from Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious, this Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto is gorgeous and green, with snappy green beans and tender new potatoes tossed in a peppery pesto.

It's one of those great warm weather sides that feels exactly the way it should: bright, sunny, and satisfying without being overly heavy. And it's that lightness that makes it the ideal accompaniment for a day full of meaty grillables.

What Worked: Not your average potato salad, this one dresses up new potatoes and green beans with a bright, lightly peppery arugula pesto, and it tastes like summer.

What Didn't: Nada, this potato salad is a keeper.

Suggested Tweaks: We're going to make a double batch of the arugula pesto next time to keep on hand for saucing pasta.

Reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin. Copyright © 2012. Published by Harvard Common Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Michael Natkin's Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:1 hour

Ingredients

  • For the vegetables:
  • 1 pound small, waxy potatoes, such as red-skinned
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved
  • For the arugula pesto:
  • 2 ounces baby arugula (about 3 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (use the larger amount if you are a garlic lover)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ounce Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • To complete the salad:
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    For the vegetables: Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water with the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. When the potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size), transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the green beans to the water and boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the green beans to a separate bowl. Rinse both vegetables in cold water until cool; drain well. Cut the potatoes in half if they are much larger than bite-size. Set aside.

  2. 2

    For the arugula pesto: Combine the arugula, mint, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cheese in a mini food processor. Process until the mixture forms a fairly smooth paste with some texture left. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender, or a regular blender if you make a double batch. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  3. 3

    To complete the salad: Toss the potatoes and green beans with the arugula pesto, several grinds of black pepper, and the walnut pieces, if using. Taste, add more salt if needed, and serve.

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