Monday, June 4, 2012

Cherry Tomato & Green Bean Salad

The summer produce arrived at my farmers market a month early this year. I have already written a post about the zucchini that showed up a couple of weeks ago. Last week the new potatoes arrived and this week sweet corn. It's a bit overwhelming. For two weeks in a row now I have brought home some lovely multi-colored cherry tomatoes and young green beans. Today I thought I would share a simple little salad I made with these last two.

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 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.

Dijon Vinaigrette

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.


Anonymous said...

Perfect refreshing summer salad -
Mary x

Jenny Welch Buller said...

Making this tonight for a special mother-in-law dinner and using the last of the season's green beans! Thanks Paige for always "being there" for me!

Paige said...

Hi Jenny, I hope your dinner turns out to be a special as you've planned. How nice to still have fresh picked green beans to use in the salad!