Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Heat Is On

Basil, summer squash and tomatoes--Oh my! This is the moment we've all been waiting for. There's such abundance with even more to come, so come to the Thursday market in Enterprise or Saturday market in Joseph to check out all the vendors.

There are so very many vegetables (and fruits) to get excited about. Still, there's one that's notable simply because it's only available fresh for a limited time, and it doesn't keep or freeze well at all: green beans.

Tender and snappy, green beans are summer's sweet treat. Great for snacking straight out of the bag, they're also marvelous steamed for salads, sauteed with garlic or roasted until crinkly and browned.

One of our favorite recipes from the Backyard Gardens Kitchen is Green Bean Salad with Walnuts and Shaved Parmesan in Lemon Dressing from Friend of the Farm. It is so summery, delicious and satisfying.

And isn't it great to make green beans the star of the show?

Green Bean Salad with Walnuts and Shaved Parmesan in Lemon Dressing
Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 pound green beans
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly shaved (about 1/2 cup)

1. Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant. (Be careful not to overtoast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.) Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beans and salt; cook until tender but still firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the beans to a colander in the sink and run cold water over them. Trim the beans if necessary.

4. Toss the beans and walnuts in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil until well combined. Pour this mixture over the beans and toss until well coated. Transfer the salad to a serving platter or to individual plates. Scatter the Parmesan shavings on top.