Last week Brett and I bought a two-pound bag of fresh organic green beans at Costco, a lot of beans for two people. We love, love, love green beans though, and most often have them either steamed or sautéed with salt, pepper, and garlic. However, with so many beans to eat in such a short time I very much wanted to find something new and different and this salad more than fit the brief.
The recipe makes a large amount of salad, enough that it lasted us for three days, and I have to say the longer the salad sat in the fridge the better it tasted. I fixed it about five hours before our dinner so it would have time to sit and marinate, and even in those few hours the flavors improved greatly. The next day it was even better, and by the third day it was fantastic.
I cut the beans before boiling and they ended up with a lot of water inside the cut pieces; cutting them after they were out of the ice water would have meant much less water to get rid of. I also cut them into three-inch pieces which were a bit too long, in my opinion. Two inches pieces would have been more manageable.
The salad is a wonderful warm weather side dish, but I had a big bowl for lunch one day and felt with the addition of either some toasted pine nuts or toasted walnuts and some croutons or toasted bread cubes it would have made a perfect main dish salad.
GREEN BEAN, BASIL, and PARMESAN SALAD
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (can use shallot if preferred)
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
Dice the onion, then place the pieces in a bowl of cool water to draw out some of the sharpness.
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 2-4 minutes (less for young beans, longer for older, larger beans). The beans should be crisp-tender and still bright green when finished. While the beans are cooking prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the beans are finished, remove them from the boiling water and put into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the beans well, then cut into 2-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.
Drain the onions, and mix with the green beans, then toss with the olive oil. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Finally, add the chopped basil and Parmesan cheese and toss again. The salad can be eaten immediately, but the flavors will improve by letting it sit a few hours in the refrigerator. Serve chilled
Three-quarters cup toasted pine nuts or toasted walnuts, and/or croutons could be added just before serving.