Tag Archives: salad

String bean & potato salad

5 Aug

The first time I saw a bowl of potato salad, at a summer barbecue in my Uncle Chick’s backyard, I looked straight into My Sainted Mother’s eyes and demanded an explanation.

“Why is it white?” I whined. “And what happened to the string beans?”

“This is different,” mom said scooping a bit of the colorless mass onto my plate, the plate that was filled with bright roasted red peppers and charred fatty Italian sweet sausages hot off the grill. “Try some, it’s good.”

And so another favorite food was discovered. I like potato salad a lot, eat it alongside burgers all the time. Hell, give me a bowl of the German style, a loaf of pumpernickel bread, and a quiet spot where I can be alone and I am all set, thank you very much.

But the “potato salad” that I first knew as a boy, the one that my Italian-American mother prepared beautifully (and regularly), is still the best, I think. Not that the comparison makes the slightest bit of sense, mind you. After all, we are talking about a string bean salad.

You following me here?

Good. Because it’s a perfect summer salad, especially welcome at outdoor cooking events. Oh, and it’s a total no-brainer to prepare.

You get yourself a mess of string beans. (These are from my garden but store bought work just fine.)

Boil the beans, and a couple of diced potatoes, until tender. After they’ve cooled a bit put them in a mixing bowl and add some sliced red onion, a diced garlic clove, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up and you are done.

Some people like string bean & potato salad cold from the fridge, others at room temperature. I like it either way.

No matter what it’s called.

Tomato salad on a friselle

30 May

Go ahead and be patient if you like. But as soon as the tomato plants went into the ground last week I became mighty restless dreaming about the summer’s first fresh tomato salad, which is still a good couple months away.

To make matters worse I had just schlepped home the perfect accompaniment to such a salad, these friselle from an Arthur Avenue baker in the Bronx.

And so I headed over to the store, grabbed the best-looking on-the-vine tomatoes that I could find, chopped them up with a little red onion, balsamic, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper, and had at it.

Patience is an overrated virtue.

Fava & cheese salad

17 Aug

I’m pretty sure this will be the shortest thing that I have ever written. 
So, you got your fava beans — your raw fava beans. Since they are not terribly young favas (which I like to keep intact) you extract the beans from their outer layer of skin.
Toss them together with a good extra virgin olive oil, a good bit of chopped hard Italian cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. On the cheese, I use genuino Romano (produced only in Rome, and not in great quantity) for this salad, but it is difficult to find, and so any good Romano-style cheese that you enjoy should do.
And I am finished scribbling now.
Oh, wait. An extremely hard-to-please associate of mine went positively pazzo over this absurdly simple salad. Just sayin.