Supposing everyone lived at one time what would they say. They would observe that stringing string beans is universal.
Two bean salads from Yotam Ottolenghi have become quick favorites around here the first was one that I have been making for years, “Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds & Tarragon” and my new recipe addition is “French beans and mangetout with hazelnut and orange”, both are snappy new additions to any spring or summer menu and vaguely reminiscent of summers gone by long ago when most of us had a favorite bowl of three-bean salad on our picnic tables.
Of course, times change and with so many wonderful chefs offering recipes for fresh vegetables with some rather creative ingredients and dressings it is hard to resist making something new if you love veggies and take advantage of seasonal farm stand offerings or fabulous selections in our stores, out of season. For two of us, a mere handful of beans/peas made for a darn good fresh salad.
Check out Yotam’s recipe link below:
14.11 ounces French beans
14.11 ounces approximately mangetout
2.5 ounces unskinned hazelnuts
about 3 tablespoons or more chives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hazelnut oil (or another nut oil, if unavailable)
coarse sea salt and black pepper
Toast the hazelnuts (try Epicurious for instructions)
Using a small, sharp knife, trim the stalk ends off the French beans and the mangetout, keeping the two separate. Bring plenty of unsalted water to the boil in a large saucepan – you need lots of space for the beans, as this is crucial for preserving their color. Blanch the French beans in the water for 4 minutes, then drain into a colander and run them under plenty of tap water until cold. Leave to drain and dry. Repeat with the mangetout, but blanch for only 1 minute.
While the beans are cooking, scatter the hazelnuts over a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave until cool enough to handle, then rub them in a clean tea-towel to get rid of most of the skin. Chop the nuts with a large, sharp knife. They should be quite rough; some can even stay whole. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in strips, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith.
Slice each piece of zest into very thin strips (if you have a citrus zester, you could do the whole job with that).
To assemble the dish, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, toss gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.