Fresh green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, in part because they’re one of the few that all three of my kids like. It’s crazy how hard that is. And now that beans are in season* and emerging from numerous regional farms, I’m having a field day cooking with them.
Frequently, I blanch a batch and put them in a food storage bag in the fridge, taking out handfuls a couple of times during the week to sauté for dinner. I love them tossed in a hot pan with olive oil and fresh garlic, then doused with a little soy sauce and topped with basil slivers. Or sometimes I add lemon peel, toasted almonds and fresh chives. They’re amazing with Hollandaise, and I love them served as an hors d’oeuvre with spicy peanut sauce. These guys are versatile.
This week, I’m combining fresh, blanched green beans with gorgeous wax beans, also in season, and using them as a salad with fresh tomatoes, crumbled feta and a homemade lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.
This make-ahead dish goes well with everything from burgers to pulled pork to grilled shrimp. Served at room temperature, it’s a healthy fuss-free side for summer picnics and relaxing homework-free dinners, which thankfully, are almost here.
Two Bean Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette
½ pound fresh green beans
½ pound fresh wax beans
1 cup crumbled feta
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs for garnish (basil, or a combination of parsley, chives and basil)
Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Bring a large pot of water, preferably a pasta pot with a fitted strainer, to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt, and the green and wax beans. Cook between 3-4 minutes, tasting to ensure they’re crisp-tender. While the beans are cooking, prepare an ice water bath by placing water and ice cubes in a large bowl. Drain beans and place in ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Remove after five minutes and pat dry.
Assemble beans on a platter. Top with feta, tomatoes and herbs. Drizzle with vinaigrette, or serve it on the side in a cruet or small pitcher.
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
¾ cup olive oil
Sea salt or Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
To a food processor, add vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and honey. Turn machine on, and slowly add olive oil, allowing mixture to emulsify. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to correct.
*Green beans are in season in Louisiana during the summer, and again in the mid-fall.