One of the nicest things about growing a whole bunch of different vegetables, is that pretty much, no matter what, something is going to do really well.
And though everything seems to be catching up now, it has been a long wait for ripe tomatoes and sweet peppers that are big enough to harvest. One really reliable thing this summer has been green beans. Good golly, do we have green beans! We do succession plantings so that the season stretches out nicely over most of the summer, and every planting has just about exploded with beans.
They have shown up often on the dinner table the last couple months, and I have been making this salad a lot. We love it, but then I’m a big fan of veggies with a vinaigrette, and Larry is predisposed to enjoy just about anything I set in front of him. So, it wasn’t until this passed the “In-Law test” that I decided to blog the recipe. After getting rave reviews for the bowl of Warm Green Bean Salad I took up to the farm for a Birthday celebration for Larry’s Dad, I decided not to keep it to ourselves any longer.
This would be great to take to a cookout or picnic this weekend, because it can served at room temperature and still be perfect. And with the acid of the vinaigrette it will be safe without refrigeration for the whole afternoon – always a plus for a meal out of doors, where some salads aren’t as safe if they get too warm. A few weeks ago, in my weekly newsletter, I talked about the convenience of getting green beans blanched as soon as you bring them home, but for this recipe, you don’t even need to do that, because they are going to get sort of blanched in one of the most awesome substances on the face of the earth – bacon drippings. Of course, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you will want to use olive oil in place of the drippings. I tried this myself, just to see how it would be, and it is still very tasty. [I have a friend who has been a vegetarian since we were in high school together, and when she was coming over for dinner a few months ago, I asked, just to be sure, and she said "Yup - still a vegetarian. Except I do sometimes eat bacon." Yes! If I were going to make an exception, bacon would definitely be it.]
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 1 tablespoon bacon drippings [or olive oil]
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5-6 grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 small red onion
- ⅓ cup chicken or vegetable stock, or water
- 10 large grape tomatoes, cut into quarters, or other tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces.
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- few grinds fresh black pepper
- a pinch of granulated sugar
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- ½ cup olive oil
- Use a small deep bowl and add the vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar.
- Grate the garlic in with a microplane or other fine grater [or mash to a paste]
- Whisk until salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking all the time, until it's all incorporated. Set aside.
- Prepare the beans by trimming the stem ends, washing and cutting into pieces about 1 & ½ inches long. [or leave whole, or cut in longer pieces - it will just take a longer to cook]
- Heat a 10 to 12 inch skillet and add bacon drippings.
- When the drippings are melted, raise the heat to high, add the beans and onions and stir fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are wilted and the beans take on a little color in spots.
- Lower heat and add the stock or water and cover tightly - cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid, crank the heat back up to high, and cook, stirring, until stock is cooked away - another 3 to 4 minutes. Beans will still be tender-crisp.
- Stir in tomatoes, heat for about 30 seconds, and turn out into a serving bowl.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette [you will have some vinaigrette left over] and serve. Can be held at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours if necessary, but after that, refrigerate leftovers, which can be reheated or eaten cold.
You get a hint of bacon flavor, which goes really nicely with the brightness of the vinaigrette. If I were making this very far ahead of serving time, I would probably wait to add the vinaigrette closer to when it will be eaten, because the vinegar will darken the beans a little bit if it sits too long.Keep the extra vinaigrette for another use – I save empty vinegar bottles to keep stuff like this in. There is no reason to ever buy bottled dressings when you can make such delicious ones so easily. The ones in the store are full of all manner of nasty junk you don’t want to give to your family anyway. I just finished off the leftovers from this post on a tomato, cucumber, avocado and chick pea salad I had for lunch.
Or, just hang on to it for a couple days – for the next batch of Warm Green Bean Salad you decide to make!