Yesterday I was busy doing the stuff I usually do on Mondays (laundry, cleaning, gardening - work that needs to be done but has a negative glamour quotient) when I realized that it was almost time for dinner but there was nothing planned, let alone on the go. At that particular moment of realization I was standing in the very middle of my garden, bravely advising the mice to head out (and not across my toes) so I could dig a few carrots, etc. As I pulled some beets, picked a bowlful of beans, and dug a few carrots I was wondering what to do for dinner. It came to me pretty quickly a few minutes later as I looked at the beautiful haul, clean and bright, at the side of the kitchen sink. Food that pretty doesn't need a whole lot of fussing to be amazing. So we had a beet salad, sautéed beet greens with lemon juice and butter, a little bbq'd chicken breast, and .... a green bean salad that will change your life.
The recipe is from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark - one of my very favourite cookbooks. I appreciate all the volumes in my ridiculously large cookbook collection for one virtue or another but this cookbook is one of the two or three that I use often and have never tried anything that I have not loved. Her green bean salad is of necessity a tiny bit different from mine because of a walnut allergy here. She talks about eating her mother's green bean salad with her hands, a comment I thought odd at first reading but now totally understand. I used my fingers too :) I shared some for lunch with Eden - she used her fingers exclusively.
This just might be the very best way to eat green beans. Ever. Coming from me that is saying an awful lot. I take my green beans very seriously.
green bean salad with tarragon and pecans
(adapted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark)
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1/3 cup broken pecans
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the prepared beans into the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes - until the beans are bright green and almost but not quite crisp-tender. Remove immediately from heat and drain.
In a small bowl whisk together the shallot, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
In a bowl toss together the warm beans, pecans, tarragon and shallot vinaigrette. Serve warm, at room temperature, or straight out of the fridge for lunch the next day.