Green Beans Salad
I received an email yesterday that said, “you must be cooking up a storm for Easter.” Surprisingly, no, we were invited to a friend’s house, and I’m only bringing the coconut cupcakes and a green salad. I am always asked to bring the salad, which makes me very happy.
You might not believe me if I told you I would rather eat salad than eat dessert. In fact, this is dessert for me. I am a salad lover the way some are chocolate lovers. I will go back in the kitchen a few hour later hoping there is some salad left over, and I can be found eating it out of the big bowl, standing up. This might be because I understand what a raw or blanched vegetable or green needs. It’s all about dressing it up with flavors that feel refreshing and waking up your taste buds with the right balance of oil and vinegar. And, I’m not afraid to bring fruit into the bowl when you least expect it. Oil-cured olive, a sweet pear, the tang of lemony olive oil, a sprinkle of thyme, and grey sea salt and I’m a happy girl.
I had two fresh ingredients laying in wait, green beans and organic pears. Could I use a fruit and a vegetable that is not a likely duo? Why not do what your family would do and use tomatoes. Knowing ham was the main course and there would sweet potatoes and scalloped potatoes, pears just seemed the right choice, and yes, it will make sense if they share a lemony champagne vinaigrette.
Green beans don’t have a ton of flavor on their own. They rely on seasoning, especially lemon and salt, and a pear takes to these ingredients well and the sweetness helps balance the saltiness And, I thought of the ham and how I could take one bite of ham with green beans and lettuce and one bite of ham with pears and lettuce. That’s how I like to eat my meat.
Don’t be afraid to try new combinations. Remember a lot of the way we eat has to do with food trends, not necessarily because it’s the only way to eat. Once upon a time, no one put strawberries, pecans and blue cheese in their salad all at once, and then everyone did. Just remember to taste along the way, and don’t give up if it’s not exactly right. A little bit of lemon and an interesting salt can go a long way. This was finished off with Grey Sea Salt.
A beautiful green beans salad is just that. Beautiful! You could serve the green beans without salad greens as above or mix into greens.
Green Beans Salad with Pears and Citrus Vinaigrette
- Mixed spring greens enough for large salad bowl
- Handful green beans washed with ends trimmed
- 1 pear
- 6-8 oil cured olives
- Citrus Lemon Vinaigrette
- 3-4 chopped capers optional
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon zest and a squeeze of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- Sea salt
- Ground pepper
- Steam green beans for 5 minutes, removing when still somewhat crisp. Rinse immediately in cold water or put in ice bath to stop the cooking. Be careful not overcook the beans.
- Slice pears in thin slices with skins on. Keep together, and add last so the pears don’t get mushy.
- Mix capers and vinegars first. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
- You must taste and see if there is too much acid and continue to add oil a little at a time.
- Dress the green beans FIRST. Then toss them throughout the salad. The dressing on the green beans will also dress the lettuce leaves. You can then decide how much more to add.
- Add salt and pepper, olives, toss. Add pears at the end, keeping them on the top of salad. Drizzle pears with vinaigrette, season with sea salt.
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