Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yellow Bean Salad

I have planted a small vegetable patch most years. This May flashes by without me soiling my hands.  As I stare at the empty patch in June, I am reminded of a Ziploc bag of last year's frozen tomatoes sitting in my freezer. I capitulate and plant tomatoes, chilies and some green beans. Literally, a hotbed of fertility, the patch sprouts and multiplies rapidly. I watch eagerly as eight emerald green tomato plants outgrow their cages. Green beans are another story. While shopping for tomato saplings, I spy a forlorn tray of beans, practically begging me to buy them. A regretable memory flashes. Green beans repeatedly making many appearances at the table, dished out on too many occasions, finally unwanted towards the end of that season. In spite of that thought I throw caution to the wind and buy them. A crunchy bean always makes a delectable side, great tempura and a wonderful addition to pasta.

A month has passed and I am bent over, picking beans. Through the branches I spy some yellow. My first thought is that I must've under watered the beans, hence they've turned yellow. But as I part leaves, lo and behold, I find a profusion of pale yellow runner beans. Not the usual dark green Blue Lake beans, which is what I thought I had bought! Lucky me!! Something different to munch on. I am enamored by their light color, flaxen shades bleeding into green. My basket is full in minutes. Three bush bean shrubs give me enough for a salad tonight.

Beans beg for something simple and light. No need to top and tail as the beans are tender. A sharp flavored vinaigrette drizzled over blanched beans. Some slivered basil from the garden. Easy, flavorful and crisp. 

Serves 2-3

2 cups Yellow Beans or Green Beans
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin Olive oil
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Coleman's Mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
A few grinds of Black pepper
3 large Basil leaves

Fill a pot with water, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring water to boil on a high flame.

Wash beans. If they are tender, you do not need to top and tail them.

Blanch beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. 

Drain beans and dunk in a bowl of icy water for 5 minutes. 

Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the water and place on a paper towel to dry.

Arrange them on a platter.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard powder, salt and pepper briskly in a bowl. 

Pour dressing over beans. 

Cut basil leaves into slivers and arrange on beans.

Let beans sit for a few minutes before serving.

We enjoy this simple salad with a toothsome crunch. Basil slivers mingle pungently with mild tasting beans and lemon zest. Leftovers make a healthy addition to the next day's salad. There is an odd phrase in India that goes like this.... one by two! In plain English it means one portion divided in two. For me that translates as today and tomorrow taken care off!!