This tasty dish is the result of neighbors passing on the street.
Bill was making his early morning march up one side of Belmont when Ray, in similar purposeful stride down the other, hailed him with this request.
“We’re going to be in California later this week for Quinn and Jane’s wedding,” he said. “My beans are coming in. Blueberries too. They’ll need to be picked. I figure you and Nancy would actually go pick them.”
Yep, Ray figured right.
An avid urban gardener for many years, Ray has always cultivated meticulous–and flourishing– vegetable beds in his backyard. Last year he gave me a couple of pounds of his pride-and-joy: haricots verts, delicate green beans that you barely steam in preparation—so good!
This past Sunday morning, before the day heated up beyond bearing, Bill and I slipped into Ray’s garden. Boy, is it impressive: Carefully mulched tomato plants, flowering, filling up their cages… lush fat bushes of genovese basil…umbrella-like leaves of squash plants, shielding the baby yellow crooknecks and striped cocozelle Italians from the baking sun. And, a formidable construction of frame and chicken wire protecting the many blueberry bushes from the onslaught of greedy birds.
We found the beans growing in compact rows, now laden with two varieties: those sleek french verts, and sweet yellow wax. It didn’t take long to amass a pretty pile of them.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
When we finished picking, we hurried home. These begged to be cooked and eaten immediately. And, I had a plan for them, inspired by friend Maggie. She combines young green beans with new potatoes in a creamy aioli type dressing made with olive oil, garlic, pecorino, and a smidge of Hellmans mayo. She and I made it for lunch one day last summer after puttering in her garden, picking her beans. It was one of those simple memorable meals—fresh as it gets.
To the batch I like to add some chopped flat leaf parsley and onion. If you have any chives, or chive flowers, put that in too! But, make no mistake, the little bit of mayo is key. It adds more body—more creaminess—-to the dressing.
It’s a perfect match with the creamy nature of those new potatoes, which break down ever-so-slightly, post boil: Both coat the beans with terrific flavor.
You’ll appreciate not only the simplicity but the versatility of our bean-potato meld. It makes a delicious side dish, and is equally satisfying on a bed of greens, as a main meal.
It works served slightly warm, or room temperature. Eat it as soon as you make it–we are going for real immediacy here.
But, I love this just as much the next day, chilled. The flavors get the chance to settle in nicely. The garlic mellows. The pecorino provides a salty sharp surprise.
And the beans….mmm…they retain sweet pop and crunch.
So, a shout-out and praise to neighbor Ray. He’s growing some righteous lean, supreme, green-and-yellow beans! Salut!
Green Bean-Yellow Bean-New Potato Salad
1 lb. fresh Green and/or Yellow Wax Beans
1 lb. Baby Yukon Gold (or any other small new potato)
Garlic Scapes, or 2 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Green Onions, sliced
1/4 c. chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 c. shredded Pecorino Romano (large shreds, or shaves)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
3 T. Hellman’s Mayo
1 T. White Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Cook new potatoes in lightly salted water until done—tender when pierced with a knife tip. (6-8 minutes)
Bring a wide skillet filled with water to a boil. Plunge in the beans, blanche for 1-2 minutes and remove. (Haricots verts will cook in a minute, or less. The yellow wax beans take longer.)
In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, onions, parsley, pecorino, and mayo. Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper.
Slice warm potatoes into a bowl. Add blanched beans. Pour dressing over all and toss until well coated. Taste for salt and pepper. Serves 4 as main dish, or 8 sides.