We have a small vegetable plot in our garden, and every year we grow a few different things in it. One vegetable that seems to come back every year though, is green beans. They are easy to grow, prolific, and extremely tasty. Kipper even likes to eat them raw, picked straight from the plant. Crunchy!
This year, we chose a variety which produces beautiful purple beans, that turn green upon cooking. I had thought that as well as being interesting, and decorative, the beans might stand out against the green foliage, and therefore be easier to see (and pick!). I was wrong – while the leaves of the bean plants are green, the stems, stalks and flowers are all PURPLE, and the beans blend right in. I need Kipper’s eagle-eyes to help me spot our crop. Fortunately, she is usually only too happy to help (as long as she gets to eat one or two as we go along).
While we often eat our beans simply steamed, or stir-fried, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a few more ways of preparing them. In particular, on a hot summer’s day, I felt a nice cold dish of simply-dressed green beans would be a refreshing change. A green bean salad, if you like. So here it is.
The dressing is a simple lemon juice & olive oil combo, with the addition of some very finely sliced garlic. Don’t be tempted to crush the garlic – the flavour will be overpowering. I sliced mine (very carefully!) on a mandolin, but you can do it with a very sharp knife too. You may want to warn diners that those little bits are slices of raw garlic though. They add a delicious pungency to the dressing, but not everyone wants to munch on them.
This made enough green beans to serve 3-4 people as a side dish.
- 300-350g green beans
- Juice of a lemon
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- Small clove of garlic, very thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Top and tail the beans and cut into 5-8cm lengths. Wash thoroughly.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Plunge in the beans, bring back to the boil, and immediately drain and cover with cold water to inhibit further cooking. The beans should be just cooked and still crunchy.
- Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and thinly sliced garlic together.
- Drain the beans well, and pour over the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss well to combine.
- Serve straightaway, or refrigerate for no more than a few hours before eating.