Haricots Verts and Potato Salad with Pesto

This traditional Italian salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project is incredibly versatile. He adds roasted almonds here for crunch, but he also likes to fold in blanched fresh peas and halved pitted olives.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6


  • 3 cups packed basil leaves

  • 10 sage leaves

  • 2 small rosemary sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

  • 4 black peppercorns

  • 1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, trimmed and halved crosswise

  • 1 1/2 pounds small fingerling or new potatoes

  • 1 large garlic clove

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (1 1/2 ounces)

  • 2 ounces finely grated Grana Padano cheese (3/4 cup), plus more for serving

  • 1 ounce finely grated Pecorino Siciliano or Pecorino Romano cheese (1/3 cup)

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds (2 ounces), chopped 

How to make this recipe

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the basil until just wilted, about 
10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water to cool. Remove the basil and pat dry with paper towels. Keep the water boiling.

  2. In a small square of cheesecloth, tie the sage, rosemary, bay leaf and peppercorns into a bundle. Add the herb bundle and haricots verts to the saucepan and cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the haricots verts to the ice water to cool. Do not remove the herb bundle. Add the potatoes to the 
saucepan and cook over moderate heat until just tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 
12 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water with the haricots verts. Let cool completely, then drain the vegetables and pat dry. Cut the potatoes in half or, if large, slice 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the vegetables to a large serving bowl. Discard the herb bundle.

  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped. Add the blanched basil, the pine nuts and cheeses and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. In the large serving bowl, toss the vegetables with the almonds and 1/2 cup of the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve, passing the remaining pesto at the table.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published May 2017

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