Potatoes with ginger? Green beans with mint? Both combined, along with garlic and sesame oil? Why not?
July was always rob-the-potato-hills time in our garden growing up. Dad was the vegetable gardener and potatoes were his favorite to grow. He loved the whole process from planting the seed potatoes, hilling them up, and harvesting. About this time of year, we would go out and dig at the sides of the hills and extract as many little new potatoes as we dared. Thin skinned and hard fleshed, these treasurers were one of the best rewards on a hot July day, and we usually did this caper about the time the green beans were coming into their own, so I tend to think of them together.
Time for Hodge podge
Mom would toss them both in a pot along with some Swiss chard and new onions and create a pot of ‘hodge podge’ (hodgepodge) that Northern classic concoction of whatever is ready to be picked. We loved it all, still do.
A happy marriage
Potatoes and green beans are great in combo, and I’ve made them many ways over the years. When you are taking green beans out of your garden by the paper bag full, this is when you make the dilly beans and experiment with new ways to serve them up. Nothing is wrong with those first tender beans, steamed lightly, and served with butter and salt. But there are countless other ways to bring them to the table.
Let’s use what we’ve got
There is also a lot of mint in my garden right now, so I thought some experimenting might be in order.
While I don’t grow potatoes any more here on our village lot, I found some beauties at the farm stand recently along with the beautiful beans. At another farm stand, I found some lovely, thin-skinned ginger and the wheels started turning.
Quick to make
I did this all in a few steps in one large skillet, so cleanup was easy. The aromatics combined beautifully with these vegetables, and it was delicious hot, warm, and cold. After chilling the leftovers, the next day, I added a hefty squeeze of lemon and called it a salad for lunch! It would be really tasty topped with an egg as well.
Even if you didn’t just fill a paper bag with green beans, you might want to try this one!
New Potatoes and Green Beans with Ginger and Mint
- 10 to 12 oz. new potatoes, rinsed
- 10 to 12 oz, green beans, stem end removed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter, vegan or dairy
- ½ purple onion, sliced lengthwise into petals
- 2 fat cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. finely grated ginger
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh mint
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
In a large, deep skillet, 12-inch, add the potatoes, cold water to cover, and a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until about half done, still firm in the middle. If the potatoes are small, this won’t take long.
Add the green beans to the pot and cook uncovered until they are done just shy of your liking. Fish them out of the pot, place in a colander, and rinse under cold water to set the color.
Once the potatoes are done, drain those as well, and set aside.
Return the pot to the burner and add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the onion and cook over medium until they are soft and just starting to color.
Add the garlic, let it bloom for a few seconds, then put the potatoes and green beans back in the pot along with salt and pepper to your taste. I used two wooden spoons to combine everything, like I was gently tossing a salad. Let things warm through and marry for two or three minutes, then add the ginger, tossing again.
Remove from the heat, add the mint and sesame oil, red pepper flakes if using, and toss again, and taste to correct the sessoning. I find this likes a lot of salt.
Plate and garnish as you wish. I was going to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top, but I dropped the jar and it smashed all over the floor!
An unexpected combination that is well worth trying!
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