Have Salad, Will Picnic

After a week filled with ice cream flavored with beer and steak and all sort of high-in-fat treats, I think something a little healthier is in order, if only so that we can get back to the ice cream with a somewhat lightened load of guilt.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s true that bacon makes everything better, but it’s equally true that with minimal effort, particularly at this time of year, vegetables can shine.

In this case, string beans are the star of the show. By blanching them in hot water and then shocking them in ice cold, the bright green color and crunch remain intact, making them the perfect foil for creamy boiled potatoes and juicy tomatoes. The whole thing is finished off with a bright, acidic dressing, helping to make the salad refreshing while still being filling.

The salad is mayo-free, so it’s the prefect take-along for all of the summer picnics and bar-b-ques that you’ll be attending, assuming you can bring yourself to share it.

String Bean and Potato Salad

1 lb potatoes (fingerlings or small red bliss work well here)
1/2 lb string beans, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 lb grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 shallot, sliced into rings
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 batch of shallot vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a pot of salted water, boil the potatoes. Cool and, if you’re using small potatoes, quarter them. Otherwise, dice the potatoes into uniform cubes.

Boil string beans in salted water until they are bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Strain and place them immediately into salted water.

Once the potatoes and string beans have cooled, combine them with the halved tomatoes and shallot slices. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the vegetables with shallot vinaigrette.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Shallot Vinaigrette

1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS lemon juice
2 tsp each red wine and sherry vinegar
1/4 shallot, finely diced
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, depending on your desired level of acidity (I use 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine Dijon mustard, lemon juice and vinegars in a large bowl. Add shallots and salt and pepper. Whisk all ingredients together, until they are well combined.

Add the olive oil in a slow stream, stirring the mustard/vinegar mixture constantly, until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under Etc., Meatless, Vegetables

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