Potato and Green Bean Salad with Parsley Pesto (from Diner en Blanc)
Here is the recipe for the salad I made for the Diner en Blanc. I make a lot of potato salads over the summer and change them often, depending what vegetables are best at the time. This salad holds well for picnics or boat rides and is not too acidic so the greens will stay vibrant even after the pesto is mixed in. I made it with small new potatoes but any variety would do except the starchy baking potatoes. Cook the potatoes just until tender being careful not to over cook them. Start piercing the smaller ones with a sharp knife to see if they are done and remove the smaller ones first. You don’t have to peel them if the skin is tender but once they are cooked it is easy to peel of the skin if you so wish (I did). I may mention that I don’t like boiling the potatoes in a lot of water. I prefer to steam them in a steamer basket or cook them in a little bit of water at the bottom of the pan so they essentially steam. You have to watch not to have the water evaporate though so keep an eye on your pot.
The parsley pesto is an item I usually have in my fridge over the summer. I have this giant flat leaf parsley herb growing in my garden on the rooftop patio. I plant a small little seedling in early spring and it seems that practically overnight it grows into a huge bush. It is especially aromatic, flavourful and beautiful and I use it a lot in season. I make batches of the parsley pesto (recipe below) and keep it in jars in the fridge so it’s ready when I need it. I mix it onto grain salads, add it to salad dressings, potato salads, spoon it over grilled vegetables, stir it into soups and spread it on homemade pizza and crostini. A truly versatile pesto to have on hand.
The quantities for this recipe are flexible. You can make it for two or twenty, just adjust the amount of potatoes and beans to what you need. The pesto recipe makes more than you need for one salad so keep the rest in a jar in the fridge and use on other things.
Here are links to other potato salads from previous posts:
2 lb potatoes
1 lb green beans
Salt and pepper
2 small garlic cloves
1 tablespoon capers without the brine
Very large two handfuls of flat leaf parsley (or 2 bunches that you buy at the store)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2/3 cup olive oil
Steam the potatoes until just tender. They have to be cooked through but not mushy (see note above)
Steam the beans until crisp tender yet still bright green. Do not cover the pot when cooking the beans as they can lose their colour.
When the potatoes are cooked through drain and allow to cool.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters, depending on their size, and peel if you wish. The skin should peel off easily.
When the beans are ready plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking.
Cut the beans into smaller pieces.
To make the pesto place all ingredients in a food processor and process until it reaches the consistency of pesto.
Place the potatoes and beans in a mixing bowl.
Add some of the pesto and toss to combine. Add as much of the pesto as necessary to coat the vegetables.
Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper to your taste.
Serve the potato salad with extra pesto and lemon wedges on the side. A squirt of fresh lemon juice is refreshing on this salad.