Besides the tomatoes and green beans, the only ingredients in the salad are olives and a mustardy vinaigrette. You could add other things—some toasted pine nuts...maybe a few poached or roasted new potatoes...later in the season some cooked, fresh shell beans—basically anything that goes well with tomatoes, green beans and olives and will stand up to the strong mustard kick of the vinaigrette. I have made the vinaigrette with a larger than usual amount of Dijon mustard—without it the salad tastes a bit flat to me. Also, because Dijon is an emulsifier, adding a little extra makes for a thicker vinaigrette that clings more readily to the vegetables.
I am including a recipe, but a recipe really isn't necessary. The salad is basically made up of equal weights of green beans and tomatoes with olives and vinaigrette added to taste. The very simplicity of this recipe makes it a perfect little side (for steak...chicken...fish...even hamburgers) at a time of year when you might want to spend more time outside enjoying your food than you spend inside preparing it.
Cherry Tomato & Green Bean Salad with Olives and a Mustard Vinaigrette
3/4 lb. green beans, stems trimmed and halved crosswise on a short diagonal
3/4 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on their size)
1/2 to 2/3 c. pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
Dijon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the beans into the boiling water and cook until just tender. Lift out and spread on some paper or kitchen towels to cool. Cooling the beans by shocking them in cold water will leave a film of water on them that will dilute the vinaigrette. When they are spread out on towels, they will steam dry as they cool.
Place the tomatoes and olives in a bowl large enough to hold all of the vegetables. Drizzle in some of the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
When you are ready to serve, add the green beans and more of the vinaigrette and toss. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: The green beans are added just before serving because the acidity of the vinaigrette will turn them an army green color. If this doesn't bother you, you may add them at any time. Allowing the vegetables to sit in the vinaigrette for a while will only add to the flavor of the salad.
2 T. red or white wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely diced (about 3 T.)
Salt & pepper
2 T. Dijon mustard
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. minced fresh Tarragon (or instead of adding Tarragon to the vinaigrette, add minced Parsley or Basil chiffonade to the finished salad in a quantity that pleases you)
Place the vinegar and shallots in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes to let the shallots soften. Season the vinegar and shallots with salt and pepper. Whisk in the mustard until smooth. Gradually whisk in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the olive oil in a thin stream to form an emulsion. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more olive oil if the vinaigrette is too sharp for your taste—but remember that it will be considerably milder when eaten with the vegetables. If you are unsure, dip a tomato or green bean into the vinaigrette and judge the balance that way.