Mother Earth Living

A Basil Harvest: Potato and Green Bean Salad

By Thomas DeBaggio and Susan Belsinger
August/September 1996
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Serves 8

Basil makes the difference in this other-wise simple, straightforward recipe for potato salad. We like sweet green basil here—any of the little bush basils may be used, and you may add a little Thai basil, ‘Holly’s Painted’, or a hint of spice for extra flavor. Surround the potato salad with red and yellow pear or ­cherry tomatoes for a tasty, colorful accompaniment.

• 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes
• Salt
• Water
• 3/4 pound green beans, topped, tailed, and halved
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
• 1 clove garlic, finely minced
• 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
• 1 generous cup coarsely chopped basil

1. Quarter large potatoes or halve small ones lengthwise and slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Cook them in lightly salted boiling water for 6 to 9 minutes, or until cooked but still firm. Refresh them briefly under cold water and drain.

2. Cook the beans in lightly salted boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Refresh them briefly under cold water and drain.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, combine the oil, lemon juice or vinegar, garlic, and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir well with a fork.

4. Combine the warm potatoes and beans in a bowl with the onions and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables, add the basil, and toss well. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, oil, and lemon juice or vinegar. Garnish the salad with fresh basil leaves and serve warm or at room temperature. If prepared in advance and refrigerated, allow it to come to cool room temperature before serving.

5. Pesto alternative: prepare the potatoes, beans, and onions as described above and toss them with about 3/4 cup pesto thinned with a little lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar to taste.


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