I’ve been planning to share this Garden Green Bean Salad since last summer.
What’s been holding me back? Well, I wasn’t sure if it was “pretty” enough to share…I mean, pretty enough for you…pretty enough to shoot. Thus, you are witnessing my attempt at shooting it as a composed salad instead of just tossing it all together like my dad did.
I’ve been eating this salad since I was a kid. This was a common salad for my dad to make during the summer when our garden was plentiful with green beans and delicious tomatoes. Now that we’re at the height of the summer harvest and are deluged with fresh vegetables from our CSA, and from our own backyard garden, I’ve been craving this salad.
My dad loved having a garden. He was very much a garden to table kind of cook; he loved using those fresh vegetables in his food. Actually, I can’t bring up a visual of him using frozen or canned vegetables. Ever. He might have, but my memories are of him with a big cutting board chopping up onions and garlic and carrots and all kinds of other fresh vegetables. He introduced us to so many delicious and diverse flavors in an era when food choices weren’t remotely as diverse, available and exciting as they are today. Back then, just making tacos at home was a novelty. I remember my friends hanging out at my house and asking, what is your dad making? Sometimes, they would be too suspicious to try. And sometimes, they would break out and taste what he was making. And then, they would become life long disciples of his egg rolls or other fabulous flavors that came out of his kitchen.
I love this Garden Green Bean Salad. It’s a nice departure from some of the salads you might make this summer because you can serve it warm. Or, you can serve it cold. Or, you can serve it at room temperature. Basically, it’s ready as soon as you are. And it’s a different kind of salad. It’s not a potato salad or a fruit salad or a leafy salad or a pasta salad or a grain salad. It’s kind of hearty because of the beans. It’s kind of juicy because of the tomatoes. It’s kind of creamy because of the eggs. It’s deliciously savory because of the onions. Best part? It’s definitely easy to make.
You simply hard boil a couple of eggs. Steam your green beans. Chop your tomato and mild sweet onion. When the green beans and eggs are done, place the hot beans in a bowl with the tomato and onion. Chop up the hard boiled egg and add it to the bowl. Season every layer with salt and pepper. Then it’s time for the dressing.
Okay, there’s no recipe for this dressing. I was going to try to re-create the dressing as a separate vinaigrette that you could pour over the vegetables. But this salad doesn’t really use a ton of dressing and it doesn’t follow a classic vinaigrette ratio. So, instead, I’m just going to show you how to do it the way my dad did it, in the bowl. Trust me. It’s easy.
You’re going to start by drizzling some olive oil over the top of the vegetables. (You can see I’ve now gone rogue and decomposed the salad, chopped veggies now strewn about the bowl.) Then, you’ll shake on some red wine vinegar. Not too much. You’ll want to leave yourself room to taste and adjust. Sprinkle on a pinch of sugar. This will help balance the acidity of the vinegar. The olive oil and egg yolk will also help to balance the vinegar.
Now toss all of it together. Taste it again. Adjust to your taste. I usually need to add more vinegar and salt because I like to be conservative the first time around. Once you’ve reached your perfect balance of flavors, you are ready to serve.
You can see that once you’ve tossed it all around and that egg yolk starts breaking up and coating all of the vegetables, it’s not as visually appealing as it was in it’s composed form. My dad never composed this salad. I can see him artfully and purposefully tossing the vegetables around then setting the bowl on the table to serve. I don’t know if any of us would ever have described this Garden Green Bean Salad as “pretty,”
but it always looked good to us :)
Garden Green Bean Salad
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1 small sweet mild onion, sliced thinly
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper
- Hard boil the eggs. Place eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover, remove from heat and set a timer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, drain pan and run the eggs under cold water. Set aside.
- While the eggs are cooking, steam the green beans until you reach desired tenderness.
- Place cooked (and still warm green beans) in a large bowl. Add the sliced onion, the sliced tomato and peeled and sliced hard boiled eggs.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with some olive oil (a tablespoon or two), sprinkle on some red wine vinegar (I usually do about 8-10 shakes.) Add a pinch of sugar. Toss the warm salad then taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm, room temperature or cold. Best served freshly made, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
*I don't give a recipe for a vinaigrette because I've never made it that way. This dressing is made right in the bowl, right on top of the ingredients. If you like it more acidic, add more vinegar. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. The egg yolk helps balance all of it. Don't be nervous. Just start with a little of each. You can always add more. You'll definitely need to taste for salt. The tomato, green beans and eggs need it to bring out the flavor.
*I love this freshly made as a warm salad, but it's also good cold or at room temperature.
The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2016