Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ellie’s Green Bean Salad

There was a time when my family lived on green beans. 
We first began focusing on eating local, seasonal foods when we lived in Atlanta, Georgia.  The local food scene in Atlanta was in its beginning stages and we enjoyed the fledgling farmers’ markets that began popping up around town and meeting the new farmers. 
For some reason during much of the year one of the only reliable local crops was green beans.  Not just during the extremely hot and humid summer, but during most of the year.  Thus we would buy and eat green beans whenever they were local.  Which, like I already said, was for most of the year!
Basically we were eating green beans all the time.  This caused us to get just a little bit sick of them.  It also forced us to use them in more than one way.  We started thinking about how green beans didn’t just have to be boiled and served with a bit of salt and butter.
Fortunately one of our favourite farmers noticed the bean fatigue on his customers’ faces and he shared this family recipe with everyone. 
The recipe has become a family favourite and we love passing it along to others.  We’ve been using our own beans from our garden this summer which makes it extra exciting, but it will work wonderfully with any fresh local green beans.  Try mixing together a few colours of beans for some extra visual interest!

250g green beans, trimmed, chopped, and steamed
2 tbsp. walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. local oil
1 tsp. local vinegar
1 tsp. mustard (any kind)
Salt and cayenne pepper

To steam the beans bring an inch of water to a boil in a pot or pan and set a steamer over it, then add the beans and cover, steaming for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the beans after steaming and transfer them to a bowl.  Chop the walnuts, parsley, and onion.
Briefly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat, until they are fragrant (just a couple minutes).  
Make the dressing  by whisking together the oil, vinegar, and mustard.

Mix everything together in a bowl, but reserve some of the walnuts and parsley to top the salad.  Season lightly with salt and a dash of cayenne.  

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