Blistered Summer Green Bean Salad

Blistered Summer Green Bean Salad.jpg

Every year, when the first heat of summer shows up on the front door, I become nostalgic for Georgia and start to crave the smoky, savory, tender flavors of green beans cooked in an iron skillet. This recipe can even be cooked on your grill, if the kitchen heat is too oppressive.

Yield: 2 portions as a main and 4 portions as a side
Time: 20 minutes

i n g r e d i e n t s

1 iron skillet, seasoned
1 Tbs-ish Olive Oil
1/2 # green beans, whole
2 pinches sea salt

Small bowl and whisk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 shallot, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin "half moons"
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 medjool dates, seed removed, thinly sliced

Small bowl
6-10 castelvetrano olives, pitted, and cut in half

Small bowl
1/2 c ricotta salata, crumbled

Mandolin and medium sized bowl
3-5 medium crimini mushrooms, shaved thinly on a mandolin

Fresh Mint, Basil, Oregano, and/ or Parsley- torn into bite-sized pieces
(use whichever herbs you have around the kitchen, but mint really makes this recipe pop)

 

m e t h o d

1. Heat your skillet to screaming hot. If you place your hand just above the surface and have to remove it after counting to 3 because the heat is so intense, that's when it's ready to

2. Add 1 Tbs-ish of olive oil just to coat the base, then immediately follow by

3. Adding the green beans. Shake the pan so that the green beans fall into a mostly even layer and are all touching the surface of the skillet. Leave them be for 2-3ish minutes, then check on them to see that they have developed a nice char/ blistered side. This may take up to 5 minutes. Once the blistered side is achieved, toss or stir the green beans so that the top side gets exposed to the skillet surface, then turn the heat off, hit them with a few pinches of sea salt, and let them rest in the skillet for about 5-10 minutes. The beans will continue to steam inside of their pods and develop the most tender and perfumed character. By the time they've reached room temp, they should bend on their own and be ready to

4. Trim off the stem tip and cut the green bean in half.  Set aside, or arrange in a long pile on your plate or platter.

5. While you're waiting for your green beans to rest in their skillet with the heat off, get started on your vinaigrette. As an aside, vinaigrettes take 3-5 minutes to assemble and follow a very simple ratio, which is 1 part acid : 3 parts liquid fat/ oil. In our case, we are taking the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, adding the sliced shallot to it, then a pinch of salt, followed by about 1/4 c - 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil. Whisk together until the vinaigrette becomes thick. If it seems thin and tastes too acidic, slowly add some more olive oil. Add the dates and whisk again to break them up and incorporate throughout the vinaigrette. Spoon a few spoonfulls over the green beans.

6. Sprinkle your halved castelvetrano olives over the top of the dressed green beans

7.  Crumble the ricotta salata (you can sub feta, if ricotta salata is unavailable) over the top of the dressed green beans

8. After your vinaigrette is made, carefully shave 3 large, or 5 small crimini mushrooms on a mandolin. Generously arrange them on top of your green beans.

9. Sprinkle the torn herbs and a few pinches of finishing salt or your favorite sea salt over the mushrooms. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and you're all set.

This dish pairs great with bubbles, sauvignon blanc, rose, cool climate cabernet francs like chinon or bourgeuil, cru beaujolais (particilarly from morgon or fleurie), and of course cool climate pinot noirs like those from the sonoma coast, wilamette valley, and burgundy. 

Enjoy and Happy Summer!!!