Over the last 3 1/2 years I’ve visited the Union Square Greenmarket probably hundreds of times, which means I’ve passed a certain artist on my way to the market almost as often. This artist is one among many stationed in Union Square, but I’ve always been especially drawn to his colorful, vibrant prints. To my mind, there are few things more beautiful than a big, billowy head of purple cauliflower, or ripe, deep-hued strawberries against a backdrop of tiny, perfect blueberries. So it’s no wonder I’ve often felt compelled to stop and take in the endless number of food photos at Ken Bondor’s station (the photos on his site, while pretty, don’t do justice to how beautiful they are in person). But for whatever reason, I’ve always found an excuse not to buy. Whether I’m in a hurry, not carrying cash, or simply indecisive, I’ve found myself in a constant, 3 1/2 year state of non-buyer’s remorse — in other words, the feeling of “Why did I not just buy at least one to put in my kitchen??”
Well, today I am the proud new owner of two — make that three, tomorrow (I just can’t stop!) — 9×12″ prints, and I couldn’t be happier. This may seem like a lot of hype over pictures of mere fruit and vegetables. But one of the reasons I love the photos so much is that they are a true testament to the natural beauty that can be found at the Greenmarket throughout the year, which is where all of Ken’s food photos are taken. I’ve often found myself overwhelmed by the variety of beautiful colors — the white, purple and red potatoes; the light and dark purple eggplants of various shapes and sizes — that beckon from each Greenmarket station.
The beckoning was precisely why I found myself in the position of having to figure out what sort of dish I could make with green beans, red potatoes, and poblano peppers last week. Sure, I could have made several dishes with my options. But I was tired. And that wouldn’t be much fun, anyways, would it? I liked the Iron Chef-meets-Chopped type challenge I had presented myself with. Well, it wasn’t that much of a challenge. I recalled an old Giada episode where she made a warm vegetable salad with green beans, potatoes and roasted red peppers. This salad is a version of that. It’s simple, seasonal, delicious, and keeps well in the refrigerator. Confession: I ate some for breakfast the next day. I know that’s wierd.
Warm Green Bean and Potato Salad:
Adapted from Giada’s Warm Vegetable Salad
2 lbs. red new potatoes (or a mix of red, white or purple)
4 cups green beans, halved
2 poblano peppers
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
4 scallions, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450. Wash poblanos and rub with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, turning once, until outsides are evenly blistered and charred. Using tongs, remove peppers to a glass bowl and cover with a lid or plasti wrap to steam. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add green beans and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Use a strainer to remove green beens to salad bowl. Add potatoes to hot water and boil for 12-15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through (halve one to test for doneness). When potatoes are cooked, drain and remove to a cutting board. Halve potatoes (quarter if they are especially large) and add to bowl with green beans.
3. Whisk together remaining olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, garlic and salt. Set aside.
4. Uncover peppers and remove from bowl. Pull off stems and make a slit lengthwise down the pepper. Use knife to scrape out seeds and slice peppers into long strips. Halve strips if they are really long. Add to salad bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables, add oregano and scallions and toss until coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.