Thursday, June 14, 2012

Market Food—an Impromptu Warm Salad of the first Heirloom Tomatoes of the season, Summer Squash & Green Beans

 Just a quick post today. Things have been a bit crazy of late and I haven't had too much time to cook for myself (or post to my blog). But a few nights ago we had such a wonderful quick meal of fresh-from-the- market vegetables that I wanted to share it here.

I came home from the market with the first heirloom tomatoes of the season. They were beautiful and perfectly ripe and I couldn't wait to eat them. They became the foundation of our "Warm salad of Tomatoes, Summer Squash & Green Beans." I wasn't planning on writing a post, so all of the quantities on the ingredients are "after the fact" estimates. I was cooking for two, but you can obviously make a dish like this for as many as you like.

I will be up front and let you know that this dish stands or falls on the quality of the ingredients. If you have insufficiently ripened tomatoes, overly large squash or slightly fibrous green beans, I would not bother with this dish. But, if you have access to a local growers' market of some kind, this dish—and others like it—will be easily within your reach.

To begin, put a small pot of water on to boil. While the water comes to a boil, trim the stems off of a handful (3 to 4 oz.) of green beans. Blanch the beans until just tender. Lift them out and spread them on a towel to cool and steam dry.

While the beans are cooking, top and tail a couple of small (2 oz. each) summer squash. If you have both green and yellow, use one of each. Halve the squashes lengthwise and then cut the halves cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick half moons. Set aside.

Toast a couple of tablespoons of walnuts (350°...about 5 minutes) and let cool. Chop the walnuts so that they are mostly fine with a few larger pieces. Mince a small clove (an inner clove is perfect) of garlic. Pick the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme and coarsely chop.

When the green beans are cool enough to handle, cut them in 1 inch lengths on a slight diagonal—you basically want to match the size of the squash.

Cut up a few tomatoes of varying shapes and sizes and colors. Cut some in slices, some in wedges and halve any cherry tomatoes. I probably used 9 or 10 oz. of tomatoes for two of us. Arrange the tomatoes attractively on two plates. Set aside.

Heat a sauté pan over moderately high heat. When the pan is hot, add some olive oil and the squash. Sauté the squash until it is golden brown in spots and just barely tender—it should still have texture and not be at all mushy—if the heat is high enough, this will only take a minute or two.

Season with salt, reduce the heat and add the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant—30 seconds or so. Add the green beans and walnuts and more olive oil—enough to coat the vegetables and give them a nice sheen, but not so much that they are swimming in oil. Continue to toss over the heat until the beans are just warm. Season with salt (don't be stingy with the salt) and pepper.  

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Spoon the warm squash mixture over the tomatoes. Crumble some goat cheese (about a half ounce per person) over the plates and serve.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is so lovely - perfect summer food - simply delicious!
Mary x