Cut the potatoes into 2 or 3 pieces each. Put them in a saucepan, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for about 8 minutes, until tender, adding the beans for the last 2 or 3 minutes. Drain well and return to the hot pan.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook very gently for a couple of minutes, without letting it color. Add the chopped olives and cook for a minute more. Remove from the heat.
Tip the oil, garlic, and olives into the pan with the potatoes and beans. Add the basil, a generous squeeze or two of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Toss together and serve warm.
Potatoes and "deconstructed pesto"
Omit the beans. Heat the garlic in the oil, as above, then toss with the drained potatoes and loads of shredded basil (a good bunch), some lemon juice, and plenty of slivered or finely grated Parmesan, hard goat cheese, or other well-flavored hard cheese.
Reprinted with permission from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Chef Thomas Keller, author of Ad Hoc at Home, explains how to season food with salt and vinegar, and why you should temper your food.