Simple is better. It’s a rule with fashion. It’s a rule with writing. Most of all, it’s a rule with food. This easy little salad recipe, bean & potato salad, is a good way to keep it simple.
When it came to side salads, it always felt like my family had infinite variations for what to serve on hot summer days. Tomatoes and cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes, potatoes and beans, asparagus, zucchini, whatever – as long as it came out of the garden fresh and was tossed with olive oil and garlic, you pretty much couldn’t lose. I’ll admit that when I was younger, I did my best to avoid any salad (with leaf vegetables or without), but now I see that good ingredients, simply prepared are the best to serve.
This recipe was a staple, simply because there was always an overabundance of beans from the garden during the summer. Adjust the recipe as you see fit – more beans or more potatoes or more garlic –to your taste. Some people love keeping peels on potatoes, others need to remove them. Mine are peeled just because it reminds me of Nonno.
My grandfather hated potato peels, while the rest of the family would leave the peels from baked potatoes until last to load them up with butter and munch our way through, he would push his off his plate. Nonno said, and this was probably the only thing he was this particular about, that even when he was poor in Italy he didn’t eat potato peels, so why would he do it now. Fair enough, I’m wasn’t going to argue with that since it just meant an extra peel for me.
Potato & Bean Salad
2lbs of potatoes
1 lb of green romano pole beans
1-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
salt to taste
Put a pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, prepare you potatoes, scrubbing them, peeling (if desired) and cutting them into quarters or slices. Salt the water and when boiling, cook the potatoes until just tender. Drain and let cool.
Wash your beans, removing any hard stems. Depending on the length of the beans, you may want to cut them into one inch pieces. Blanche in the boiling water, drain and let cool. Thinly slice your garlic cloves, using as much or as little garlic as you like.
When everything is prepared, and cooled, in a large bowl combine the potatoes, beans and garlic. Add the olive oil, using enough to coat the ingredients evenly and season with salt to taste. Serve at room temperature as a side or with crunchy Italian bread.
If you have leftovers, think creatively. Mix them up with some tomato sauce to go with bread or pasta. Combine with eggs and cheese and make a frittata. Though my favourite thing to do is to fry up the salad the next day in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and hot peppers, giving the beans and potatoes crispy edges and a bit of a kick.