This salad is about my favorite thing in the world lately. I made it up (though I'm sure lots of other people have, too) which gives me a special feeling of pride about how good it is.
It started with the sauce - something I'd whipped up to serve with grilled salmon. It's so simple yet so delicious - just mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh dill, garlic, salt and pepper. It only occurred to me as I sat down to write this post that it's actually an aioli...
Then I was thinking about accompaniments to grilled salmon and thought, potatoes and green beans. Then I thought, what if I mixed the sauce with those two things? It sounded promising...
So I steamed some Yukon Golds and blanched some green beans and tossed them with the sauce and voila, my new favorite salad was born! It's a great dish for spring and will be an even better one for summer when fresh beans and new potatoes are coming right out of the garden or the farmers' market. And, I can report, it does go very nicely with grilled salmon.
One of the things I love about this hearty salad is the relative ease of putting it together BUT if you are in a slow food mood and have a little extra time, you could take it one step further by making your own mayo for the aioli.
Please note that this is a flexible recipe so these amounts are just a rough guide - you should taste as you go and adjust as you see fit. And if you want to throw other ingredients into the salad that sound good to you, you should. Without further ado, enjoy!
Green Bean & Potato Salad With Lemon-Dill Aioli
Serves 4 as a side
For the salad
* 4 cups of fresh green beans, rinsed with the ends trimmed off
* 3 large or 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into equal-sized cubes (I like Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn for this salad)
* Tray or two of ice cubes and lots of cold water
For the aioli
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup mayonnaise
* 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (go heavy if you like garlic, light if you don't!)
* 3-4 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 3 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1. Make the aioli by combining all the sauce ingredients and stirring well. Taste and adjust the flavors as needed. It's okay if it seems a bit salty and garlic-y - remember, this is going to cover a whole lot of unseasoned vegetables.
2. Place the cubed potatoes in a steamer pot over an inch or so of water and steam, covered until tender when pierced with a fork, roughly 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes.Then remove from the pot and allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Then add the green beans and blanch then until they're just a little bit tender but still bright green - probably 3-4 minutes or so. While they're cooking, prepare a large pot of very cold water mixed with ice cubes so that you'll have it at the ready to put the blanched beans in - this is important so that you can stop the cooking process (otherwise, they'll continue to cook and end up overdone). Once the beans are done, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or by pouring them into a colander, then place them in the ice water bath for 5 minutes to ensure that the cooking stops.
4. Combine the steamed potatoes, blanched beans and the sauce, stirring with a large spoon to ensure that everything gets well-coated with the aioli and serve. Goes amazingly well with grilled or poached salmon, grilled chicken, burgers or really anything you can throw at it.
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