Potatoes and Green Beans
March 22, 2009 by Kate Heyhoe
Makes 1-1/2 pounds each of potatoes and green beans
From Kate Heyhoe’s Cooking Green
- Green Strategy: One pot and precooking save fuel and water; passive boiling saves fuel
- Prep/Cooking Times: 5 minutes prep + 5 minutes active cooking +20 minutes unattended
- Prime Season: Year-round for potatoes; green beans in summer and fall
- Conveniences: Shaves off cooking time later in other recipes; can be made in advance and keeps up to 3 days; less equipment to wash; adaptable to other vegetables
- New Green Basic: Plan ahead and cook multiple vegetables with about the same amount of water and fuel as one vegetable; use the basic passive method to replace continuous boiling.
Use this method to save fuel, water, and your own time. It’s a handy template for boiling potatoes and blanching vegetables together, even if you don’t serve them in the same dish. Eat the vegetables separately or together, as in a Nicoise potato salad. Enjoy them right after cooking with a little butter and salt; or refrigerate and serve later in a salad, gratin, casserole, soup, Spanish tortilla, quiche, or omelet. Besides green beans, you can blanch a sequence of vegetables, assembly-line fashion, like carrots, broccoli, and asparagus, for example.
You’ll need a large pot, a skimmer (like a Chinese spider or a large slotted spoon), a colander, and a bowl of chilled water (with ice or ice packs, or prechilled in the fridge) for shocking the beans. Shocking stops the cooking process and helps set the color. If the vegetables are cut in small pieces though, cold tap water works almost as well as iced water. (Capture and repurpose the cooking and chilling water, for a greener cookprint.)
Smaller potatoes cook faster and don’t get waterlogged like large, halved potatoes. Use any variety (Yukon Gold, red, russet, white). A wealth of nutrients lie just under the potato skin, so eat the peels, and put potatoes at the top of your organics list.
- 1-1/2 pounds potatoes (2–3 inches in diameter, about 7)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 to 1-1/2 pounds green beans
1. Scrub the potatoes but do not peel. Place in a large pot with the salt, and add water to cover by 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. While the water heats, trim the stems off the green beans. Prepare a bowl of chilled or ice water.
2. When the water boils, add the green beans (they’ll float above the potatoes) and push them down to submerge. Cook 2–3 minutes, until crisply tender or until desired degree of doneness.
3. Scoop the beans into the bowl of chilled water until cool. Drain in a colander. Leave the cold water in the bowl if blanching other vegetables, and add more ice or chill packs if needed.
4. The potatoes will not be done. Cover the pot, turn off the fuel, and let the potatoes passively cook 12–15 minutes, or until a skewer penetrates to the center. Scoop the potatoes into the colander to drain. Use now, or refrigerate the beans and potatoes separately (will keep 3 days).
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