Al Dente On The Side: Green and Wax Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

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We established long ago that I’m a food bigot. It’s an ugly habit that I’ve worked hard at breaking. It turns out my discrimination went beyond mere food genres and straight to ingredients.

Yes, I was a bean racist. When it came to string beans, I was not color blind. Green was the beginning and end of any conversation, and yellow was never mentioned. I’m not entirely sure why. They taste the same and, with the exception of color, look the same. Maybe it’s the name: wax beans. Who wants to eat a wax bean?

Anyhow, I regularly buy fresh beans during the summer and make side dishes or salads from them (a Mancini classic: blanche string beans, mix olive oil, garlic and red wine vinegar, toss with beans, refrigerate, enjoy). This week at the Regional Market, Monarch Farms — a non-certified organic farm — had enormous green and wax beans. At $3.50 a basket, they were a winner in this recipe that was part of a feature in The New York Times dining section.

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I opted for a few modifications. I went with plum tomatoes from my garden, which are meatier than your garden variety (no pun intended) tomato. I skipped the olives because, well, I did. And we were missing the basil because I forgot to cut it. What can I tell you? My mise en place was off its game. I’m going to blame the three-year-old that likes to wake up at 2 a.m. and argue about sleeping in her big girl bed.

2013-08-10 at 13-14-40Green and Wax Bean Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
Adapted from Melissa Clark at The New York Times

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed
  • 1 overripe large tomato
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Drop green and wax beans into boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice bath. When cool, drain and dry with a towel and place in a large bowl.

2013-08-10 at 13-33-45Cut tomato in half across its equator and squeeze out seeds (use for another purpose or discard). Using the largest hole on a box grater (JARED’S NOTE: I cannot find my box grater and used my trusty handheld instead), grate the tomato flesh. Discard skin and transfer grated flesh to a medium bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup. Stir in vinegar and salt, then stir in olive oil and garlic. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt as needed.

2013-08-10 at 13-45-51Add just enough vinaigrette to coat beans, add olives, then toss well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes (and up to 4 hours) before serving.

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