Judith Hausman
July 10, 2013

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Photo by Judith Hausman

A chilled string-bean salad cools down a hot summer afternoon.

Cool or room-temperature dishes are all we want during a heat wave. Honestly, it’s still a little early for string beans out here in the East, but this mustard sauce is wonderful on top of any number of lightly cooked vegetables: asparagus, potatoes or sugar snap peas.

I find that the easiest way to prepare the vegetables, especially for a crowd on a hot night, is to microwave them in a glass dish. I spread them out in about a half-inch of water and nuke them on high for 5 to 7 minutes. Then, I drain off the water and drizzle on the dressing. Because the beans absorb the dressing well when warm, hold out about one third of it to refresh the flavors just before serving. 

If you want more sauce, just note the 3-to-1 vinegar-to-oil ratio. Also, the whisking takes longer than you think. I actually prefer a fork to a whisk to accomplish the emulsification.

You can make these beans a whole meal by flaking some canned salmon or oil-packed tuna over the top … oh, and maybe some white beans or little potatoes. Then, you’re actually halfway to a salade niçoise!

Servings: about 1/2 cup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced)
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 pounds green beans

PREPARATION

In a clean jar or small bowl, mix the vinegar and mustard well. Slowly add the olive oil, and whisk very well. Keep whisking until the oil and vinegar emulsify; that is, no longer separate. Add the tarragon or thyme, salt and pepper, and taste.

Steam or microwave at least 1 pound of thin, trimmed green beans. Lay them parallel on a platter (or just drain off the water) while still warm, and drizzle 2/3 of the sauce over them. Save about 1/3 the sauce to add just before serving. Chill.

 

You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:

Summer Salad

Romano Green Beans

Read more of Locavore Recipes »


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