1 large Idaho potato, or Yukon Gold potato (about 8 ounces)
1 pound freshs tring beans, trimmed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the cooked vegetables
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
freshly ground pepper
Peel the potato and cut crosswise into 11/2 -inch pieces. Pour enough cold water over the potato in a large saucepan to cover by three inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat slightly to a gentle boil, and cook 8 minutes. Stir in the string beans and continue cooking until both vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
Drain the vegetables well in a colander. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Scatter the garlic over the oil. Cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 1 minutes. Slide the drained vegetables into the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes to the desired consistency as you do. Drizzle additional olive oil into the vegetables and mix just before serving.
Think of the above recipe as a master recipe. You can use other types of potato in place of the Idaho or Yukon Gold and a host of other 'add-in' vegetables in place of the string beans. Whatever potato or 'add-in' vegetable you choose, the technique is simple: peel and cut the potatoes and put them on to cook. Then, stir the add-in vegetable into the same pot, add the cleaned and cut add-in vegetable, timing it so both vegetables are cooked at the same time. (The proportions, generally speaking, should be around 60 per cent vegetable and 40 per cent potato, but you can vary that depending on preference or need.) The vegetables are then well drained and sautéed with garlic and olive oil, mashing the vegetables roughly as they're cooking. (Again, based on your preference, you can mash the vegetables, smooth or not so smooth.)
The add-in vegetables that lend themselves best to this preparation are; Swiss chard, Savoy cabbage, white cabbage, spinach and string beans.
Judge when to stir in the add-in vegetable based on the timing guidelines below. (If you find you misjudged the cooking time and one vegetable is tender before they other, simply fish the tender vegetable out of the pot, set it aside and return it to the pot when the second vegetable is tender.)
New Potatoes: You can choose to peel or not peel new potatoes, depending on your preference. Choose small new potatoes, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Cut any potatoes larger than that in half. New potatoes of this size will take about 25 minutes of boiling to become tender.
Savoy Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Spinach or Swiss Chard: Remove the thick stems and trim the leaves of any wilted or discolored spots. Wash the leaves in plenty of cold water and drain them well in a colander. Large leaves can be cut or torn into several pieces each. Two bunches of about 10 stalks each will yield about 1 pound of leaves. Add cabbage or chard to the pot about 5 minutes after the potato has been cooking and the spinach about 10 minutes after the potato has been cooking.