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Potato Salad With a Twist

June 20, 1996|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of "First Impressions" (William Morrow)

I developed this salad several years ago for one of my cooking classes, but unfortunately I filed the recipe and completely forgot about it until recently, when I was cleaning out my desk.

The salad is made with red-skin potatoes that are boiled without being peeled, cut into wedges and tossed with chopped green onions, sweet red peppers sliced into thin strips, blanched green beans and slivers of black olives.

A garlic-and-mustard-scented dressing made with white wine vinegar and oil is poured over the salad. Fresh basil and parsley are then added. The salad can be prepared several hours ahead and kept refrigerated. Because it is made with a vinaigrette dressing, rather than a homemade mayonnaise, it can be taken to potlucks and picnics without fear of spoilage.

This colorful potato salad would taste especially good as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, lamb or steaks. You might like to offer a plate of corn on the cob and garlic bread, followed by strawberry or peach shortcake for dessert.

POTATO SALAD WITH RED PEPPERS, GREEN BEANS AND BLACK OLIVES

DRESSING

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Salt

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place garlic, mustard, vinegar and 3/4 teaspoon salt in glass, ceramic or other nonreactive bowl. Whisk in oil. Dressing can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes before using.

SALAD

Salt

2 pounds small red boiling potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed, and beans cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, cleaned, stemmed, seeds and membranes discarded, cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 cup black olives, such as Nicoise or Kalamata, pitted and cut into thin slivers

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus a few sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat leaf

Several Romaine lettuce leaves, cleaned for garnish

Bring 1 gallon water to boil and add 1 teaspoon salt and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes or longer, depending on size of potatoes.

Remove potatoes and drain. When cool enough to handle, quarter potatoes, then halve quarters and place in mixing bowl. Salt to taste and set aside.

Bring 1/2 gallon water to boil and add 2 teaspoons salt and beans. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse under cold running water to cool. Pat dry and set aside.

Add green onions, red peppers and olives to bowl with potatoes and toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Salad can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead to this point; cover and refrigerate beans separately. It is best to add beans just before serving so they will not lose their bright green color.

When ready to serve, add beans, basil and parsley to salad and toss well to mix. Add more dressing as needed and taste again. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange border of Romaine leaves in shallow serving bowl or on serving platter. Mound Salad on leaves and garnish in center with some basil sprigs.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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