Green Bean and Potato Salad by Silvia Colloca

“This unassuming salad has been a family favourite ever since I can remember and is known amongst the Collocas as ‘fagiolini e patate’. There are no fancy ingredients, just olive oil, herbs and a little garlic, so it is important to let the bold bareness of this dish shine. Mamma’s trick is to cook the potatoes in a small pan (it needs to be quite a tight fit) of cold water seasoned with plenty of rock salt to ensure the potatoes retain their flavour and texture, without absorbing any moisture. The green beans are added at the very end, giving them just enough time to soften and bring out their natural sweetness.”

Serves 4


  • 800 g russet potatoes, skin on
  • 2 handfuls of rock salt
  • 400 g green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black or white pepper
  • baby basil and mint leaves, to serve


  1. Place the potatoes in a small saucepan so that they fit snugly. Cover with cold water, add the rock salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 30–35 minutes or until the potatoes are almost cooked through.
  2. Add the green beans and cook for 1–2 minutes. Drain both the beans and potatoes and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle half the olive oil into a large mixing bowl and add the garlic. Peel the potatoes while they are still warm (the skin will come off more easily) and cut them into rough pieces, any size you like. Place them in the bowl, add the beans and toss them in the garlic oil. Add the vinegar and toss well, then taste for salt and adjust if necessary.
  3. Tumble into a serving dish, drizzle with the remaining oil and dust with pepper. Top with a handful of baby basil and mint leaves and serve.

This recipe is from Silvia’ Colloca’s cook book ‘Simple Italian: The Essentials of Italian Home Cooking’ – check it out for many other great recipes!