French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad

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At long last my table is filling with the bounty of locally grown produce.  To celebrate I’m going to make  French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite non-profit organizations Local Matters and stars green beans grown in my front yard along with new red potatoes and crispy romaine lettuce from my Great River Organics CSA market bag.

This post will give you a bit of an idea of a few of the things I enjoy besides cooking in my kitchen and writing for this blog, but rest assured they don’t fall far from the tree.

The first is as a volunteer for Local Matters (http://local-matters.org/).  This local non-profit does incredible things in the Columbus community and beyond to positively impact our food system and I’ve been volunteering with them for over 5 years now.  The first thing that got me hooked as a volunteer for them was the fact that they were going into pre-schools  and teaching kids and teachers about  recipes like this that came from various parts of the world.  So fun and rewarding to see food that didn’t come through a drive-through or from a box bring a smile and request for more!

In the time since I first started volunteering with them,  the number and types of programs Local Matters offers has grown dramatically. They literally reach from garden to table  and the impact they have on individual’s food choices and culinary skills among the myriad of other things is truly amazing.   My joy in volunteering for them however doesn’t stop at the important work they do.  It gives me the chance to work alongside  wonderful like-minded individuals such as their executive chef Laura Robertson-Boyd who first shared this recipe with me.

My other main ” volunteer”  gig is as a bag packer for Great River Organics CSA (http://www greatriverfarms.org).  Each week my husband and I get a first  peek at the goodies that will be delivered to a growing number of individuals in the Columbus area who choose to eat produce that  is locally and organically grown by a group of farmers that care about providing superior products, rewarding those in the time-honored profession of farming and respecting our environment.   In the literal sense we work for food because at the end of our shift we go home with some of the best produce to be found in Columbus.   Having grown up on a family farm where most of the food on our table came from our garden and pastures, I love the challenge/opportunity of creating great meals from the things that Great River Organics and I grow.   The other bonus of this gig, like my Local Matters work,  is that it allows me to work with yet another group of amazing people.  One of them is so amazing that she invited us to join a group of her friends on a cultural and culinary adventure to Italy last year.  I’ll save this story for another post(s)!

But back to the subject of this post.  This week I was able to harvest just enough green beans from my front-yard garden (I’m slowly but surely replacing things that are just ornamental with plants that either the bees and I enjoy) to go with the lovely new red potatoes and romaine lettuce from my Great River Organics bag.   Lunch just doesn’t get much better than this – at least until the vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn come along!

As with many great recipes, the list of ingredients is short which means that each one gets to shine and the quality is extra important.  So head to the farmers market or your garden and choose the freshest produce possible.  In my case I only have to step outside my front door for the beans.

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New red skin potatoes get a medium dice, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. 
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Then into a a 425° F oven or 400°F convection oven to roast until just tender and lightly browned.  They will tend to stick a bit to the foil, so use a gentle touch to stir/ flip them about half-way through the cook time.  Resist the temptation to eat them all as soon as they come from the oven.   
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While the potatoes are roasting, blanch and shock the green beans.  Don’t forget to salt the blanching water and have your bowl of ice water ready for the shock.  I like to use a salad spinner as my shocking vessel because it allows me to drain the beans easily and give them a spin to remove the excess water.  Beans are ready for the plunge into ice water when they are bright green and tender to the bite.  
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Next the vinaigrette.  Today I’m using a country style Dijon because it’s what I have in the refrigerator.   My personal favorite brand is Maille, probably because I had the good fortune to visit Dijon many years ago and bring home a pot of fresh mustard.  So each time I use this mustard I’m reminded of the beauty and great food to be found in the French country side and the wonderful people I met there.
The process of making a vinaigrette is simple.  Whisk the mustard and vinegar together,  then  slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you continue to whisk.   At end,  season with a little freshly ground black pepper.  
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Finely mince a shallot (if you don’t have a shallot some onion will do) and sauté in a bit of olive oil until translucent.
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Toss in the green beans and potatoes and heat until just warm.  Add the fresh tarragon or parsley ( tarragon is definitely the classic flavor for this dish, but try as I might, it is just “not my favorite” so I substitute flat leaf parsley).   Add the vinaigrette and give it another toss to combine. 
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Plate on a bed of sturdy lettuce and lunch is served.  
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 Bon Appétit and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
M.B.

French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad

by: M.B. Einerson

Barely adapted from a Local Matters recipe by Chef Laura Robertson-Boyd, Executive Chef 

 Servings: 2 main course or 4 side dish

  • ¾  lb. of redskin potatoes, medium dice
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lb.  green beans, snapped into ½ inch pieces (haricot vert are classic for the dish but any fresh green bean will be fine)
  • 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small to medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves or flat leaf parsley (optional)

Vinaigrette              

  • 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly grd. Black pepper
  • 4 cups Romaine or other sturdy lettuce, torn (optional but highly recommended )

Pre-heat oven to 425°F.   Toss diced potatoes with 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.  Spread in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until just tender and lightly browned.   Stir once, half-way through the cooking time.

Blanch green beans in salted boiling water until just tender and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  This is called blanch and shock.

In a bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Sauté the shallots in 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil in a skillet that will also hold the beans and potatoes.  When the shallots are translucent, add the cooked beans, roasted potatoes and a pinch of kosher salt.  Heat until just warm.  Add the fresh tarragon or parsley leaves.  Stir in the vinaigrette.  Serve warm or at room temperature on a bed of lettuce.

Bon Appétit
M.B.

2 thoughts on “French Green Bean & Roasted Potato Salad

  1. Pamaroo says:

    I thought this recipe’s title sounded familiar!! We have the same source. I like your tip about the salad spinner. Will use that next time I make this!

    Like

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