Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mediterranean Yellow Green Bean and Zucchini Salad

On a hot summer day like this, I'm thinking fresh veggies, red wine vinaigrette, and herbs. Yeah, that'll do.
So I started with about a pound of yellow green beans, say it with me, "from the farmers market." From there, it looks like I still had about half of a huge zucchini that my mother gave to me fresh from her garden. About a quarter of an onion, a few leaves of fresh basil, one ripe tomato, and now we have a party. So here we go:

1. First, I snapped the ends off of all of the yellow green beans, and sliced them into approximately 1/2" to 1" pieces for the salad. I also took this time to prep the zucchini, slicing into approximately 1/4" cubes, and dicing up the bit of onion that was left over. 
2. Now, set a pot of water, salted moderately, to the boil in a pot. When boiling, throw in your beans, and cook until more sweet, but still definitely crispy. This should take about four minutes or so, but use your judgement. The trick is that you just don't want them soggy. When they're to your liking, drain the green beans in a colander, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Now leave to drain until they're quite dry.
3. Add about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil to a saute pan, and throw in about half of your diced onions. You're going to use half of the diced onions raw, and half of them will be cooked up with the zucchini cubes. About three minutes after your onions go in to cook, add your zucchini and stir fry for about three to four minutes, just so they're a bit cooked. Now remove from heat to a paper plate so that the veggies can cool.
4. At this time you can prep your vinaigrette. I added four tablespoons of good olive oil and two and a half tablespoons of red wine vinegar to a little mixing bowl. Add a half teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt, and whisk that puppy together.
5. Cut your tomato in half, and remove the seeds. Now give the flesh a rough chop. You can also chiffonade the basil into thin strips.
6. Okay, so you've got everything ready, and it's time to combine. Throw all your beauties into a mixing bowl, and give them a good few stirs. Take a taste. Personally, I thought the salad was missing something... maybe an additional salt element. So I chopped up a few kalamata olives that I had left over from one of my many snacking sessions and also threw those in there.

The result, I'll admit is pretty refreshing, and a nice interesting side salad for our meal tonight. Hopefully it serves as some inspiration for all of you as we continue to harvest some incredible vegetables during what has been a beautiful summer so far in New England.

Ingredient Rundown:

1 pound of yellow green beans, cut into 1/2" to 1" pieces
1/2 of a zucchini cut into cubes
1/4 of an onion, finely diced
4 or 5 leaves of basil, chiffonade
1 tomato, seeds removed and diced up
4 tablespoons of olive oil (and additional for stir frying the zucchini)
2 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 pinch of salt
Water to boil the yellow green beans
Optional: 4 or 5 diced up olives

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