Fingerling Potato, Arugula and Yellow Wax Bean Salad

July 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

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Last Sunday I made this gigantic salad and packaged it away in big, portable yogurt containers to tote to work for my lunches this week.  Each day I’ve pried off the plastic lid, dumped the contents unceremoniously onto a large plate and I’m telling you – I’ve loved it so well, I’m seriously considering making a make-shift repeat for tomorrow with the sparse leftovers I have in the back of the fridge.  This salad has won its way to my “top salad favs” list because it has a wonderful blend of textures and flavors.  (This recipe was inspired by some experimental new pesto blends I’ve been whirling up and a beautiful update from Smitten Kitchen.)

If you want to try this recipe, I highly recommend three things: First, don’t short change the arugula.  Second, take the time to toast the walnuts; the taste and crunch-quality of toasted walnuts is terrific, especially paired with a fork-full of potatoes!  Third, if you can find fingerling potatoes, buy a pound or two.  In a pinch, you can chop up a large Yukon Gold, but fingerling potatoes have terrific taste and are more fun to eat.

Ingredients:
1 bunch arugula
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1/2 pound green/yellow beans
3 large leeks
5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup basil
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (full-fat preferred)

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Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Chop fingerling potatoes, coat in olive oil and roast for about 15-20 minutes, until crispy around the edges.

2. Simultaneously toast walnuts in the oven for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and golden-brown; check repeatedly to make sure they don’t burn.  If you prefer, you can also toast on the stove in a dry pan.

3. Heat a medium-sized pot on the stove to blanch green beans. Meanwhile, prepare dressing: in a Cuisinart, blend cilantro, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.  Whirl, adding olive oil and lemon juice as needed.  When the dressing is smooth, spoon in a few scoops of yogurt to thicken it up and set aside.

4.  Heat a rimmed skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Wash leeks.
(Cooking Tip: Leeks are notoriously packed with dirt in-between the concentric crevices.  To wash leeks I chop them first, then soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes, rubbing the chopped pieces between my fingers.  The dirt will naturally settle to the bottom of the bowl and the leeks will float to the top.  Scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon when oil is hot in the pan.)  Saute leeks until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic.  Stir.  Reduce heat.

5.  When water is boiling, blanch the beans for 5 minutes or until bright green and al dente.  Then, combine with the leeks and garlic and saute a minute or two.  Pull out the potatoes, add them to the pan. Remove from heat.

6.  In a large serving bowl, tear arugula leaves into large pieces.  Spoon dressing over the beans and potatoes until incorporated.  Layer on top of the arugula bed.  Top with toasted walnuts and serve.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free

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