Rather than a warm starch side dish for our gourmet group dinner recently, I decided to go with something cool, as our weather has been very warm and humid this summer. It was a perfect accompaniment for the grilled meat, which is the last recipe from our dinner that I'll be sharing from our dinner, next time.
The dressing is a delightful vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, fresh thyme leaves (hello, garden), and honey. When all the wonderful ingredients are tossed together with the vinaigrette you will have one of the freshest, best tasting potato salads you can imagine. Better yet, it can be made either a day ahead or in the morning. I like to take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to get to room temperature before serving. But be careful, you'll be tempted to sneak a bite every time you walk past it :)
I used a combination of baby Yukon gold and baby red potatoes. I would suggest using either one of those over russets as they hold their shape better after boiling. The green beans are cooked until just tender and then blanched in a bowl of ice water to keep them from getting mushy and to keep their bright green color. I used haricot vert (thin, French green beans) that I found at Costco but any fresh green beans will work. Even better if you can get them freshly picked at a Farmers' Market.
You may have heard or read about all the rain we've been getting in Wisconsin recently. 9-11 inches of rain fell in portions of Wisconsin yesterday that caused mudslides (unusual here), water rescues and evacuations ongoing. Areas hardest hit are north of Milwaukee, Madison and areas near LaCrosse. Here in Southeastern Wisconsin we have Flash Flood warnings today for nearby rivers and creeks.
Luckily, our home is built on high ground so we are fortunate. My poor Limelight hydrangea is so heavy from all the rain that the blooms have fallen over but, compared to what other's are going through, a minor disaster indeed. Isn't it hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of August?
Baby Potato-Green Bean Salad with Bacon and FetaPrintable Recipe
For the Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 heaping tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup vegetable oil
For the Salad:
3 pounds baby gold or baby red potatoes, or a mixture of both, washed
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 (generous) pound fresh green beans
5 green onions, white and light green part, thinly sliced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked crispy, crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
To make the vinaigrette: In a blender, combine the vinegar, honey, minced shallot, thyme leaves, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until combined. With the blending running and pour cap open, slowly add in the oil until the vinaigrette is thickened. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large saucepan of boiling water, add the salt and cook the potatoes, covered, for 8-10 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them. Spread in a single layer on a tea towel to cool completely. When cool, either halve or quarter the potatoes and place in a large bowl.
Wash and trim the green beans and cut in half crosswise. Fill a large bowl with ice water and have ready by the stove. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the beans and return to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until just crisp-tender. Immediately remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon and put them into the ice water. After a couple of minutes drain the beans, pat dry and and to bowl with potatoes.
Add sliced green onions to the bowl and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and gently toss. Add more vinaigrette, if needed, to thoroughly coat the salad. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Chill remaining dressing to serve alongside the potato salad. You may remove the salad from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, if desired.
Just before serving, toss salad with the bacon and feta cheese and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Serve with remaining dressing at table.