Saturday, July 17, 2010

Spectacular Sides: Roasted New Potatoes with Spring Herb Pesto; Green Beans with Lemon, Walnuts and Parsley; and Watermelon Salad with Feta and Arugula

Is it just me, or is the best part of a meal often the side dishes? I enjoy a piece of meat as much as anyone, but I get really excited about the rest of the meal. I love when a meal rounds itself out with a number of dishes, some savory, some sweet and some just plain fun. It's especially welcoming when the sides make the most of the season. I recently cooked a dinner party and featured these three fantastic side dishes. The Rosted New Potatoes with Spring Herb Pesto is my favorite new potato preparation. The potatoes maintain their buttery texture but the outside gets crisp and flavorful. And the Spring Herb Pesto is super easy and fresh. And have you seen all of those green beans at the farmers' market lately? Try this prepration with bright lemon, crunchy walnuts and fresh parsley, with just the right amount of butter to add decadence. And last but not least, if you've never tried watermelon with feta, do it now! The sweet watermelon and salty feta compliment each other beautifully, and the arugula adds a spicy bite. It's divine! With these recipes you just may have the brilliant idea to forget the meat and just go for the sides!

Roasted New Potatoes with Spring Herb Pesto
Crisp and buttery potatoes come to life with a fresh and easy pesto.
Serves 6

3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
3 T chopped fresh rosemary
3 T. olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 pounds red-skinned new potatoes, halved lengthwise

Blend parsley, chives, rosemary, 1 T olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon peel and 1/2 tsp salt in food processor to coarse puree. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and remaining 2 T oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes cut side down, on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 40 minutes. Using spatula, transfer potatoes to large bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat. Enjoy!

Green Beans with Walnuts, Lemon and Parsley
Fresh, buttery and bright flavors make a delicious side to any meal.
Serves 8

2 lbs. slender green beans, trimmed and halved
5 T butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water and cool. Drain again and pat dry. (Beans can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.)

Melt butter in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts; saute until nuts are crisp and butter is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add beans and toss to heat through, about 5 minutes. Mix in lemon peel and toss 1 minute. Mix in parsley. Season beans to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Arugula
Sweet watermelon pairs perfectly with salty, crumbly feta cheese.
Serves 6

1/4 seedless watermelon, cubed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 oz baby arugula
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper

Mix the olive oil, honey and lemon juice until combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine watermelon, feta and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Potato and green bean recipes courtesy of Bon Appetit
Watermelon salad by Sarah Saubert

1 comment:

  1. Those potatoes sound delicious! I may have to try!!