Green Beans (Haricot vert) Salad
For 4 to 6 servings
It is one of the most pleasing salads for something green and crunchy and a nice break from leafy salads and a good option for a vegetarian meal salad. Buy the freshest beans you can. They should be deep green with no blemish, they should snap when breaking and not feel limp. Beans have a high content of moisture and chlorophyll and should be stored in a cool place and not in a plastic bag otherwise they exude their moisture rapidly and become slimy. Once cooked, you can dress the beans up to three hours in advanced to pickle them.
For 1 ½ pounds of green beans. Remove hard ends of beans and cook the green beans in a generous amount of boiling water till tender but still crunchy, al dente. Drain them and shock them in an ice cold bath. This should have the effect of stopping their cooking and bringing out the chlorophyll making your beans look freshly green.
Red onion: 1 medium/ large cut brunoise
Red bell pepper: 1 julienned
Garlic: 2 or 3 cloves, crushed
Lemon zest grated: ½ teaspoon
Kalamata or niçoise olives: pitted and halved 3-4 oz
Assorted grape tomatoes: 4 oz halved
Feta cheese crumbled: 3-4 oz
Thyme: destemmed 2 generous tablespoons, or
Basil: genoa and/or opal: finely cut 1/4 to 1/3 cup to taste
Balsamic: 2 teaspoons
lemon: 1 tablespoon
Dijon Mustard: 1 ½ teaspoons
Olive oil: up to ½ cup
lemon zest: 1/4 teaspoon
Ground cumin: 1/8 teaspoon or more to taste
Directions: In a hot pan with a minimum amount of olive oil, sauté garlic onion, red bell pepper till tender but firm. Let cool.
In a large bowl, drizzle of bit of olive oil over the cooked green beans, toss and mix in the cooked vegetable mixture.
Add lemon zest, olives, and grape tomatoes. Dress generously and refrigerate till service. Before serving, return to room temperature, and add to salad crumbled feta and thyme or chopped basil. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
This salad holds well over a day, and also makes a good dish for a picnic.
Jean-Mark Sens grew up in France and Belgium and has been living in the Southern United States of America for the past 25 years, except for a short stint in the deep East of Maine, which brought him back to New Orleans. He has taught culinary arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Eastern Maine Community College and more recently for Mississippi University for Women on the Gulf Coast, and also works with the Goldring Centre for Culinary Medicine in New Orleans. He has published a collection of poetry, Appetite, with Red Hen Press. The present recipes are part of Leafy Greens and Sundry Things, a book on the arts and technique of composing salads in need of a publisher.