I love a salad with potatoes that is not really all about the potatoes, know what I’m saying? I also love side dishes that are mostly vegetables, with a little starch—which always mean I am only fixing one side dish instead of two or more. (See examples of rice salad, farro salad, bread salad.) (Not that I don’t love some carbs mind you, and frequently recommend combining several carbs into one dish, such as potatoes and pasta or breadcrumbs and spaghetti.)
This salad is an easy call in late summer, when you can get fresh green beans, fresh potatoes, and fresh tomatoes. There are just a few small potatoes in it—though you could certainly add more!—and loads of green beans, tomatoes, and a little garlic in the dressing. And while perhaps legitimate chefs would frown on the technique, I love just popping the green beans into the boiling water with the potatoes when they’re through cooking, which saves a pot, some time, and a couple of steps along the way.
I like this salad best at room temperature, or even just a little warm, so I let the tomatoes macerate with the dressing and garlic while the potatoes and beans cook. I cut up the potatoes to speed their cooling, but mix everything together while the potatoes are still a little bit warm. For one thing this brings out the scent of the garlic just a little. You could add a little mustard to this, use red onion instead of garlic, capers instead of olives, or toss in a handful of fresh herbs. It’s a fun type of dish to play with when you have potatoes on hand and a mixture of other vegetables—and it will dress up any meal.
Green bean, tomato + potato salad
Serves 4 as a side
- 4 small potatoes, scrubbed
- 1/2 lb fresh haricots verts (skinny green beans) or regular green beans, trimmed and washed
- 1 large slicing tomato or 4 plum tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces or 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 10 – 12 kalamata olives
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or crushed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or fleur de sel
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In the salad bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Place potatoes in a pot large enough to hold them and, ultimately, the green beans. Cover potatoes with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook at a simmer for 25 minutes. Then add the green beans and cook 2 minutes more, until green beans are bright green and tender, but still crisp.
3. Strain potatoes and beans in a colander. Remove potatoes to a cutting board. Rinse green beans in cold water until they cool to room temperature. Cut potatoes into quarters and peel if desired. Let them cool for a bit.
4. To the tomato mixture, add room temperature green beans and potatoes when slightly warm. Mix well but be careful not to mangle the potatoes. Serve at room temperature.