Farmers’ markets are my favorite outdoor activity in summer. You can find me at my local market every Saturday morning. The thing I love most is they carry everything from exotic produce to garden standbys. The best part? The produce is fresh, local, and at the peak of its flavor.
One of my favorite things to buy during June at the farmers’ market are fresh beans. Green beans and their cooking cousin yellow (or wax) beans are now in season and one of my family’s favorite vegetables. They’re good cooked until crisp-tender then drained and buttered, but they are also wonderful in this big beautiful salad. Everyone prefers their beans cooked to a different doneness, but for salads such this I recommend sticking to suggested 4-6 minutes so that they are truly crisp and tender.
There is one secret to all vegetable and fruit salads: do not add the vinaigrette dressing until right before serving because the acid in the vinegar or lemon juice turns the fruit or vegetables brown.
There’s so many reasons why I love this salad: it’s big enough for summer entertaining or family barbecues, makes the most of seasonal fresh green and yellow beans, and when tossed with crunchy toasted almonds and dressed with a piquant but not mouth-puckering honey mustard vinaigrette it hits the spot. Green & Yellow Bean Salad is one of those summer table, barbeque, or backyard party must haves!
The beans can be cooked, drained and chilled up to a day ahead.
After draining in a colander, shock the beans with ice cubes and cold running water.
Brown the almonds in a dry 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium heat. I have a cast iron skillet that I use to toast almonds, but you can use a nonstick skillet as well.
Do not add the dressing until ready to serve the salad. Vinaigrettes tend to discolor vegetables on long exposure. And I always measure oil for the dressing before the honey; that way, the honey just slides off the spoon. Toss beans, dressing, and almonds together in a bowl and voila, the perfect summer salad.
What’s your favorite way to serve fresh summer beans?
- 5 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed and discarded
- 1 pound fresh yellow (wax) beans, stem ends trimmed and discarded
- 1½ cups (1 6-ounce package) slivered almonds
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In an 8-quart pot over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add salt. Add green and yellow beans and cook over high until just crisp-tender, 4 o 6 minutes.
- Drain in a colander and shock with ice cubes and cold running water. Drain very well. Refrigerate, covered, in a container with folded paper towels on the bottom, until chilled, 4 hours or overnight.
- Place almonds in a dry 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly and flipping, until almonds are golden brown but not blackened. Transfer immediately to a paper plate or paper towel to cool. Reserve.
- Make the dressing: Add all ingredients in the order listed to a small bowl. Whisk until the honey and salt are dissolved and the dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate covered until ready to use. If dressing separates, whisk to emulsify.
- To serve, place chilled cooked green and yellow beans in a large bowl. Add dressing, toss well. Add nuts and toss well.
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