Let’s talk about lunch for a minute. For me, it’s usually leftovers, but this time of year I don’t generate many, so I’ve had to get creative and plan ahead a bit.
And so it was that when I got home from work yesterday, literally minutes before the sky opened up, I got to work on last night’s dinner and today’s lunch. We had beans aplenty in the fridge from our weekend marketing, and since this week’s Summer Fest is all about beans and greens, a fresh bean salad was in order.
I got a big pot of salted water going on the stove to both blanch the beans for my salad and boil the pasta for dinner, then sat with a cocktail and started shelling a bunch of fresh cranberry beans. I ended up with about a cup of shelled beans, so I decided to use an equal amount of each of the other beans I had on hand for the salad. I trimmed and cut green and yellow wax beans and Romano beans into 1(ish)-inch lengths, popped them into my boiling water for a minute or two, moved them to an ice bath to cool, then set them aside on a towel to dry.
I cooked the cranberry beans with a little bit of water, olive oil, a smashed garlic clove and a crumbled chile de arbol until they were tender, adding a bit of salt to finish them before moving them with a slotted spoon to a big mixing bowl. When the cranberry beans had cooled to about room temp, I added my blanched and cooled string beans, some thin slices of Purplette onion, and some diced fresh tomato. I wanted a really vibrant dressing for this bean salad, so I whizzed up lots of big fresh basil leaves in the mini chopper with sea salt, the juice from one big lemon and some extra virgin olive oil, then I poured it over the bean salad, tossing it well.
I’m eating this as I type, and I am loving the interplay of the crunchy string beans and creamy cranberry beans with the bright flavors of tomato, lemon and basil. This is definitely not your mama’s bland bean salad.