Serve this green bean salad as a first course, chilled or at room temperature. Photo courtesy Distilled NY.
Green beans are a popular year-round vegetable. Only broccoli ranks higher among the green veggies.
According to Produce Pete, green beans (also called snap beans) are best in early winter, early summer and early fall, when they are the most tender.
Select small to medium-sized pods that are velvety-looking and bright green, with no signs of wilting or wrinkling. Don’t think that bigger is better.
Choose the smaller beans: They’ll be sweeter and more tender. Long, thicker beans have been left on the vine too long, and can be tough and tasteless.
Fresh green beans should be tender enough to eat raw, and should have a crisp snap when you break them apart. If they’re rubbery and bend, pass them by.
One our favorite green been salads is Niçoise-style: lightly steamed beans, red onion, halved cherry tomatoes and anchovies in a mustard vinaigrette, garnished with quartered hard-boiled eggs.
You can also add boiled potatoes. Served at room temperature, it’s always a hit and is an excellent buffet dish as well.
For people who don’t like anchovies or onions, we adapted this salad (photo above, recipe below) from Chef Sean Lyons at Distilled NY, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan. You can serve it as a first course or a side, lightly chilled or at room temperature.
RECIPE: GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH TABBOULEH
Ingredients For 4-5 Servings
1 pound green beans
Tabbouleh, other grain salad (barley, rice, quinoa, etc.), or bean or lentil salad
6-8 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey mustard or sweetened plain Dijon
Garnish: Kalamata or Picholine olives -or – 1/4 pound firm white cheese*
*Use feta, smoked mozzarella, ricotta salata or whatever your store has that can be cut into cubes.
1. STEAM the green beans, ideally lightly so they still have a bit of crunch. Set aside.
2. PREPARE the base salad. You can make corn corn relish, bean or grain salad. We saved time by purchasing tabbouleh and adding corn kernels.
3. BLEND the sauce ingredients—yogurt, mustard, mayonnaise. You can tailor this to your tastes; for example, sour cream instead of yogurt, mustard and mayonnaise to taste. You want to get mild to medium mustard flavor.
4. PREPARE the vinaigrette. We particularly like walnut or hazelnut oil with this salad, although olive oil is fine. Toss to lightly coat the string beans.
5. USE a silicone barbecue brush to paint a swath of mustard sauce on one side of the plate or shallow bowl. Add the tabbouleh in an angle as shown. Place the green beans atop the tabbouleh.
6. GARNISH as desired.
Green beans, also called snap beans, were bread from the older string beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.
Green beans were formerly called string beans, because they originally had a string of tough fiber that ran the entire length of the bean. You had to remove the string from each and every bean before cooking.
The inconvenient string was bred out over time, and people began to refer to the stringless beans as snap beans or green beans. But people who learned the name from their parents or grandparents may still use the old name.