Belgium is a bit of a complicated place, full of chocolate, breweries, and monks. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also divided into three bits, seperated by both culture and language.
Liége is in the French speaking bit of Belgium, which makes it slightly simpler, because Flemish is just plain strange.1
Anyway from the lovely city of Liége comes this salad (or so they call it, what is the definition of a salad anyway?). I can’t get enough of the stuff, we eat it whatever the weather, at any time of year, and anywhere in the world.
I usually make it a day after we had boiled potatoes and green beans for dinner and some are left. That means that the major part of the prep is done and the lunch can be on the table in about 5 minutes. Just in case your former dinner consisted of something else then here is the whole recipe:
Notes on ingredients
The proportions of the ingredients are really variable, and depend on what you have that day..
Sometimes the salad borders on vegetarian (when the very little and lonely bit of pancetta had been found in the fridge after all butcher’s shops had been closed), sometimes it looks like a bean field, because that is Emma’s favourite version. Enjoy tinkering then!
You can use any kind of bacon, but smoked works better, and gives a more flavourful dish. It’s not traditional, but also works well with pancetta, smoked sausages, or chorizo.
And so to work…
- Large onion1
- Potatoes 1/2 kg
- Green beans 250 g
- Bacon lardons 250 g
- Freshly ground pepper
- Red wine vinegar
Peel your potatoes, cut them into good manly chunks, and boil them until tender in lightly salted water, and then drain. Be careful not to overcook them, as they will still be spending a moment in the frying pan.
Top and tail the beans, and if you feel like it, then cut them into pieces. I don’t bother to cut them, I like them long and lean. Maybe it’s because my wife is short and slightly round, and I think they contrast nicely? Boil the beans until al dente and drain well.
Put a large frying pan onto the heat. Anoint it with a drop of oil (and not much more as the lardons will exude the fat too) and throw the aforementioned lardons in.
While the lardons are frying, dice a largish onion (or if you are lazy or have a blunt knife, just cut into half moons) and add to the lardons. Reduce the heat and cook the two together until the onion is cooked, but not brown.
Season well with freshly ground pepper, then add the potatoes and fry all together.
When the potatoes are hot, add the beans and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until they are heated through, adjusting the seasoning to your taste.
Take the pan off of the heat and add a good glug of the vinegar. Give it a good stir so everything gets an even coating of salt, pepper and vinegar.
Throw it onto some plates, or just put the pan straight on the table.
Open a nice cold beer.
Drink to Begium.
- Unless you are Dutch, in which case it is pretty normal. ↩