Friends tell me they’re scared to have me over for dinner. Something about my being a food writer tends to scare them off. If only they could’ve heard my seven-year-old tonight.
“Mommy,” she yelled from downstairs. “Are we having hotdogs and baked beans for dinner?” I’d been writing on the computer for awhile, and I guess she figured we’d be stuck with that since it was nearing 6 o’clock and the kitchen was dark. The fact that she knows about hotdogs and canned baked beans should put my friends at ease.
So yes, we did have hotdogs (all natural, I might add). But instead of serving a side dish from a can, I boiled some fingerling potatoes, tossed in a handful of green beans for the last few minutes, and quickly whisked Dijon, olive oil and balsamic. When the beans and potatoes were done, I drained them and tossed them with the vinaigrette, then added some baby spinach. By the time the ketchup, mustard and relish were on the table, the side dish was ready. Nothing fancy, certainly nothing to intimidate a friend, but way better than something out of a can.
Potato and Green Bean Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
This recipe, like many others on my blog, is more technique than recipe. I didn’t weigh ingredients as I made it, and neither should you. Just use what you have, adding more or less depending on personal taste and what’s in your fridge and/or pantry. The quantities are simply estimates to get you started.
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes or fingerlings, cut into quarters or bite-sized pieces
8 ounces green beans, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup course-ground Dijon mustard
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons parsley
Large handful of baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes in salted water about 8 or 9 minutes, or until nearly done. Add the green beans and cook a few minutes more. Drain beans and potatoes. Whisk the mustard, olive oils and balsamic and gently toss with the vegetables, then add parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Add more balsamic if necessary, then mix in a large handful of baby spinach.