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Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad

29-Aug-2012

 

Green Bean and Potato Salad

 

The Oxbow Project

This recipe is part of a series of posts. Please see The Oxbow Project for full details.

A few years ago, at one of my first Outstanding in the Field dinners, I had a salad that I’ve wanted to replicate ever since.  The salad itself was rather simple, kind of a riff on a potato salad.  What made it memorable was a perfectly cooked and peeled, farm-fresh, medium-boiled egg.  When my fork cut into the egg the yolk oozed onto the salad adding another element to the dressing.  It was delicious!  I wondered how in the world they’d manage to perfectly peel all those fresh eggs, especially since they were only cooked to medium so not as firm as a hard-boiled egg.

A year or so ago I found a blog post that talked about cooking eggs in a pressure cooker.  Bells rang, birds sang and I knew I’d found my answer.  I researched and bought a new pressure cooker, a Fagor Duo, mostly so I could recreate those eggs.  I’ve experimented off and on over the last year.  A couple of months ago I finally felt ready to make the eggs for company but there was a little glitch – although some of the eggs were cooked medium, others seemed more like a not-quite-hard-boiled egg.  I figured out why  that happened and for this salad cooked the eggs to the perfect consistency!  I was so happy.

The key is that once cooked, you need to run all the eggs under cold water for a few seconds and crack the shells immediately.  This releases all the steam and stops the cooking. Then you can go about shelling each of the eggs.

 

A few other hints:

  • Make sure to gently roll the eggs to crack the entire shell before you start peeling them.  If you partially peel and then try to crack the rest of the shell it’s challenging since the eggs are so soft you can easily rupture them
  • Peel the eggs under cold water  – either running from the faucet or just fill the pressure cooker with cold water and hold them under the water while you are peeling
  • Make a “path” of peeled shell from top to bottom of the egg, instead of around the egg.  And then work to remove the rest of the shell.  You are less likely to accidentally break off the tip of the egg this way
  • Pay close attention to ensure that as you start peeling you are pulling the membrane away from the egg, not just the shell away from the membrane
  • If you want the yolk centered in the white you’ll need to set the eggs on end while they are cooking.  To keep the eggs from slamming into each other and to position them upright I put a bunch of canning rings into the pressure cooker (mine will hold about five “regular” (not wide-mouth) rings).  If I’m not worried about the yolks I lay an egg in each ring.  If I’m concerned about the yolks I place the eggs on end in between the rings, using the rings to prop the egg upright.
  • After the original post linked to above, Laura posted additional information on Michael Ruhlman’s blog.

If that’s just too much work – and I know that for many people it will be – just use regular old hard-boiled eggs in the recipe.  But even hard-boiled eggs are easier to peel when they’ve been pressure cooked.

In the recipe, there are a few guidelines for the amount of each ingredient but use your own judgement based on what you like and if the salad looks balanced.

 

Green Bean and Potato Salad

 

Ingredients from Oxbox CSA box:  Green beans, onions, lettuce, dill

Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad

  • Small or medium Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes – one medium or two or three small potatoes per person
  • Thinly sliced pancetta – thicker than prosciutto but a littler thinner than thick-sliced bacon, if possible. Ask your deli person to slice it for you. Or substitute a nice bacon.  1 – 2 slices per person.
  • Green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • Eggs, cooked medium, peeled and left whole – see web link above, 1 per person
  • Several lettuce leaves, washed, dried and torn into 1″-2″ pieces
  • Mustard vinaigrette – recipe follows, or use your favorite
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill for garnish

Cut the potatoes in 1″ cubes.  Add to pot, cover with cold water, add salt, bring to a boil and cook until starting to get soft but not completely tender.  Drain and let dry.  Toss the potatoes  with olive oil and roast on a baking pan in a 400°F oven for about 15 minutes or until tender on the inside and a little crispy on the outside.  Set aside to cool.

Place the pancetta on a baking pan.  Bake in a 400°F oven for about 5 minutes, then turn and bake another 5 minutes.  You want the pancetta crispy but not blackened.  Adjust time based on the thickness of your slices.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add green beans and blanche for one minute.  Remove beans from water and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  When cooled, remove beans from water and allow to air dry.

Toss the lettuce with a little of the mustard vinaigrette and make a bed of lettuce on the serving plate.

Mix the potatoes, onions and green beans. Toss with a little mustard vinaigrette and mound on top of the lettuce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the eggs on top of the potato and bean mixture, making sure to seat them so they won’t roll off.

Place the pancetta crisps around the plate, standing some on edge.

Garnish with pieces of fresh dill.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 oz olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together until thoroughly blended.

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