Monday, June 14, 2010

Pesto Potato and Green Bean Salad

I'm not a big fan of superlatives, the best this, the worst that, the coolest girl, the cutest guy, etc... It all just seems too extreme and too concrete. However, today I am making an exception to the rule because I think that everyone should know that the Union Square Farmer's market is one of the best places on earth. Now maybe I would think all farmer's markets are that great, but this is the one I know best and I just love it. As a cook, I have had a difficult time coming to terms with farmer's markets. So often the produce and ingredients they offer are so good on their own that the importance of my role in the dinner equation is essentially eliminated. I had to get over it when I realized that some of the best food I have eaten may not be because I am a good cook, but because I am a cook with good ingredients.
pesto potato and green bean salad
That being said, when I do use market fresh ingredients I do my best to keep things simple and avoid interfering too much . For example, in this salad the three main ingredients are potatoes, string beans and basil, all straight from the market, perfect on their own, but even better together. Now unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the final product because this was made at night and gone by the morning. So you're going to have to use your imagination to visualize the final result. It's easy, take the picture of the string beans and potatoes and tint it green. Not any green though, tint it the green of the pesto in the picture below. There you go. Looks good, right?
homemade pesto
To keep things simple, this salad just tastes like a sum of its parts. Sweet, waxy potatoes. Crunchy, green string beans. Woodsy, biting basil. That's it and that's all you want from it. Like I said, the farmer's market is one of the best places on earth. I think it serves as an important reminder that simplicity is a virtue, my role in the equation may be minimized, but I would rather that than resign myself to a life of tasteless, lifeless vegetables. If you don't cook you're even luckier, because there's no way you can go wrong. When a delicious meal is this easy and tasty, what more could you ask for?
potatoes for potato and green bean salad

Pesto Potato and Green Bean Salad
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

4 pounds small Yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound green beans, cut into one-inch segments

2 bunches of basil (about one ounce each)
1 to 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add beans; cook four minutes longer. Drain well and let cool, then transfer potatoes and beans to a large bowl.
2) Meanwhile, discard the stems from the basil and wash and dry the leaves. Puree them in a food processor with garlic, parmiggiano, and pine nuts drizzling in enough olive oil that it gets saucy. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
3) Toss the beans and potatoes with pesto. Serve immediately, or make this up to two hours in advance. It can be stored at room temperature.


SMKM said...

you're the best thing i know. and i'm making an exception of the rule for that because its true!