Last spring, my neighbor purchased too many green bean plants from Home Depot and asked me if I wanted to take any off her hands. I hadn’t grown green beans before, but I figured it was a good time to start. I inherited 12 plants which seemed like a lot at the time. It was still prior to the first frost date based on Maryland’s gardening zone (May 15th) when I put them in the ground so I was slightly alarmed when I heard of an impending frost. Winter’s last hoorah. Holding on with a death grip. Fortunately, I thought to place a sheet over the little transplants and they survived the frigid night. My neighbor’s? Not so lucky. But despite being a green bean novice and the plants having been exposed to harsh temperatures, I grew more beans than my family could eat last summer. I was spoiled.
So when I planned on growing my beans from seed this year, I was pretty confident. I learned green beans have shallow root systems and are typically sown directly in the soil anyway and, thanks to the website Smart Gardener, it was revealed that I could plant nine seeds in a square foot area with each seed being 4 inches apart. Seriously? Okay, if you say so. And so I planted 35 seeds. Yes, 35. And they were off to a good start. Some pests started chomping down on the leaves so I sprayed some neem oil on them. They were growing at a steady rate without any indication of disease, but I noticed they weren’t growing erect and they weren’t flowering as prolifically as they did last year. And eventually, the leaves started to yellow a bit. So I have no idea what happened (maybe they were grown too close together?), but I haven’t been able to harvest an adequate crop this summer. As a result, my green bean recipes have been limited and so I’ve needed to incorporate them into other dishes where they’re not the star. Enter my warm fingerling potato salad with green beans and champagne vinaigrette. This is my signature vinaigrette that goes well with a mixed green salad too.
Warm fingerling potato salad with green beans and champagne vinaigrette
Snip the ends off the green beans and blanch them for 3-5 minutes (depending on how you like them). Immerse them in ice water to stop the cooking, drain, cut into thirds and set aside.
Coat fingerling potatoes with oil and season with salt and vinegar. Roast them in a 400 degree over for about 20-25 minutes.
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard, 1 minced shallot, 1 tbsp. fresh chives or parsley and a few tbsp. of champagne vinegar* in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in about 1/4 c. olive oil.
Just before the potatoes are done, sprinkle the beans on top of the potatoes and roast them for a few minutes to heat them up. When the potatoes are done, toss everything in the bowl with the vinaigrette. Season with more salt, if necessary. Enjoy with something made from the grill.
*If you can’t locate champagne vinegar, use can use sherry or white wine vinegar. It’s another ingredient worth investing in, in my opinion. Find it at a discounted home goods store. You can get a good deal.
It’s time to take a break from mayo-laden potato salads we are so accustomed to in the summertime. This salad fits the bill.