Those who know me realized long ago that my life is wrapped around food. A good part of my day is spent thinking about how to create a new recipe from seasonal food, how I can use a good recipe that I already have for an article, or how to convert an old recipe to good use for today’s garden or market.
Believe it or not, when it comes to green beans I get really lost in thought, with fewer ideas coming to mind than any other food. So last night I was watching a food show and the hostess was making a green bean and potato salad by boiling the green beans in one pot and boiling the potatoes in another. While using the combination of the two for salad is not a new idea it is a good one, and I just had to figure out how I could use the same two ingredients and give the salad different levels of flavor.
Immediately, the thought came to me that a good start would be if I roasted the potatoes with a little fresh garlic and then cooked the green beans in no water but in a little vegetable oil. This would make the beans tender and slightly caramelized. What kind of dressing would work? An old favorite that I have used for years on my salmon Niçoise salad which has both potatoes and green beans would work just perfectly.
For once I had all the ingredients- the new potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and fortunately a lemon, in my fridge. In my herb garden I had fresh Greek oregano that is growing beautifully and would be a nice complement to the other ingredients. So I went to work and when I was finished I put my work into a pretty dish and went outside to photograph the salad on a bench by the ivy.
The light from the outside brought out the beautiful colors in the salad. This was one of those times that I really enjoyed the finished product, not only the beauty of the food but the flavor as I savored every bite of my three servings.
There are many good things about being a food writer, but eating your work is way up there at the top. Enjoy!
Green Bean, New Potato and Tomato Salad with Fresh Greek Oregano
& Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Preheat oven to 400º F.
1 pound small new potatoes cut into quarters
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil (if serving at room temperature you can use olive oil)
On a baking pan lined with foil, place the cut potatoes and chopped garlic. Salt and pepper the potatoes. Pour the oil over the potatoes and garlic. Rub the potatoes until coated with the oil.
Bake until tender, about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes.
1 lb. cut green beans (fresh or frozen-thawed)
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a skillet over medium heat add the oil. When hot, add the green beans. Cook until the green beans have reached the desired tenderness. I like mine very tender. Check for seasoning. Salt brings out the flavor, so salt to taste. Make the vinaigrette.
Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ tablespoon whole grain mustard or Country Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until well mixed, or use wire whisk to bring ingredients together in an emulsion.
In a large bowl add the cooked potatoes and green beans. Add 1 teaspoon finely chopped Greek oregano, and 1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thick. Pour in the vinaigrette. Even though it may seem like a lot of dressing, add it all because the potatoes will absorb some of it. Check for seasoning. Serve at room temperature.
If you refrigerate to serve later, let it come to room temperature for serving.
Other ideas for this salad-
Use good store brand Greek vinaigrette instead of the Dijon mustard vinaigrette, then add some crumbled or cubed feta to the salad.
Add crumbled bacon to the finished salad with Dijon mustard vinaigrette- don’t add too long before serving because it may become soggy.
Add fresh cubed ham or sliced chicken to make it a main dish salad.
Add a can of top quality tuna in olive oil.
Add salmon that you’ve roasted and cut into bite size pieces.
Avid gardeners who know how to get their hands dirty tend the beautiful gardens featured in this article. Special thanks to Betty Norris & Laura Lander, Publicity Co-Chairs from the Cape Fear Garden Club, for the tour of many wonderful gardens during the Azalea Festival Garden Tour in Wilmington, North Carolina. Read more...