Roasted Potato Salad With Sea Beans and Bacon

One of my favorite things to do is to open people’s eyes to lesser known foods, particularly ingredients that they never would have touched otherwise.  I didn’t grow up an adventurous eater.  Tuna noodle casserole and sloppy joes were the norm in my diet.  Trying lemon meringue pie was the equivalent of tight-rope walking across Niagra Falls.  In fact, “picky eater” in the dictionary featured my picture til I was 18.

But now, I love roasted brussel sprouts dusted with sea salts as much as french fries.  So what changed things around?   When I met my now-husband, I couldn’t cook so much an eggo waffle, but that was all about to change.  One day, I plopped in front of the TV and stumbled across the Food Network.  As I watched the episode (I wish so badly I could remember which one it was!) I realized it didn’t seem that hard afterall.  So little by little, I began to branch out and try new things.

What I loved most was that I had control over ingredients like onions which I normally would have picked out of my dinner tirelessly.  But when I was in control of the meal, I started to scatter those ingredients in slowly and surely until I found out that if you caramelize onions, they take on a deliciously sweet flavor.  Or if you roast brussel sprouts, they take on a crispy, nutty persona.  With me in the drivers seat of the next meal, I began to thrive on the idea of doing the same thing for other people: transforming the frog into the prince.

Sea beans are a vegetable that most people have never heard of before.  A final challenge on Top Chef was my first introduction to these branchy, coat-rack like plants but I never realized that they grew right in my backyard.  Sherlock Holmes-esque foragers scour Pacific Northwest beaches for croppings of these veggies.  When I saw them at my local farmers market, I tried to get the vendor to leak the location where he snips his sea beans but his lips were sealed.

Nonetheless, I snatched them up to give them a try myself.  They add a nice, crunch and salty bite to this roasted potato salad.  Green beans make a perfect stand-in if you can’t find them yourself.  I realize this potato salad is a little time consuming, and dirties up it’s fair share of pots and pans…but it’s worth it!  Plus it tastes even better the next day, always a bonus. : )  Give it a try at your next bbq and you won’t be disappointed.  This recipe is more or less a rough guideline so don’t bother measuring everything exactly.

roasted potato salad with green beans

Roasted Potato Salad with Sea Beans and Bacon

Serves 6

2 lbs of fingerling or red potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary

3 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters

4 strips of thick cut bacon or pancetta

1 cup of blanched sea beans or green beans

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and ground black pepper

For the Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss them with the chopped rosemary and olive oil til evenly coated.  Spread on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes

In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Dunk the sea beans (or green beans) into the boiling water for just 60 seconds.  Then pour into a colander and rise with cold water until chilled.  (This is called blanching.  You stop the beans from continuing to cook after you pull them out of the water so they keep their vibrant green color and still have a nice crunch).

Then crisp the bacon in a medium-high saute pan and drain on a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.

potato-salad-ingredients

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette until thick and creamy. The sugar will help to balance out the acidity from the vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  You may not need all the vinaigrette.

In a large serving bowl, toss the potatoes, beans and bacon with just enough vinaigrette to coat everything.  Then add in the hard-boiled eggs.  The flavor will get better if it sits for at least 30 minutes.

Related posts:

  1. Cinnamon Spiced Bacon Waffles
  2. Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes

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