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.