Salade d’Haricots Verts et de Pommes de Terre
by Susan Herrmann Loomis
from French Farmhouse Cookbook
Makes 6 to 8 servings
There is something about the soil in France that brings out the best in green beans. Whatever the variety, haricots verts have a depth of flavor, a sweet and sophisticated nuttiness, that complements their inherent “green” flavor.
New potatoes are ready at the same time green beans come to market, and the combination is a natural — particularly in this salad, which is showered with shallots. This is delicious served while it’s still warm, or at room temperature.
A few notes:
It may seem superfluous to call for “snipping” or “stringing” green beans, for it appears that contemporary varieties rarely have strings. But strings are often a function of maturity. The first couple of crops from a vine of “stringless” beans is usually just that — without strings. But subsequent crops often have strings. So don’t be cavalier about stringing your beans. Always check them first.
Green beans have a tendency to turn yellow when left in contact with an acid. For that reason I don’t add the beans until about 20 minutes before serving this salad. They have enough time to absorb the flavor of the dressing, yet retain their color.—Susan Herrmann Loomis
3 tablespoon best-quality red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and cut into paper-thin horizontal slices
1 1/2 pounds green beans, snipped
2 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed
1. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the oil, whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Add the shallots, whisk briskly, and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 tablespoon sea salt per 2 quarts water) over high heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
3. Add the beans to the boiling water, return to a boil, and cook until the beans are tender but not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ice water and leave them there until they are chilled through. Drain the beans and spread them out on a tea towel to dry.
4. Bring the water back to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Check the potatoes; depending on the variety and their freshness, they may take substantially longer to cook. Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool slightly.
5. Whisk the dressing again to be sure all the ingredients are well blended.
6. As soon as you can handle the potatoes (they should still be quite hot), cut them into bite-size pieces, dropping them right into the dressing. Toss the potatoes and set them aside at room temperature. About 20 minutes before serving the salad, toss in the beans.
Recipe © 1996 Susan Herrmann Loomis. All rights reserved.