Long Bean and Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad

Long bean and heirloom tomato summer salad

This fresh summer salad was inspired by something I had at one of my favorite restaurants, Barbrix.  The original dish was made with green and yellow beans tossed in a light vinaigrette and topped with delicious grilled octopus.  While I don’t usually make octopus at home, their preparation of green beans really inspired me to work them back into my dietary routine.  So when I saw Chinese long beans at the market I knew just what to do with them.

I used to work at the farmers’ market where people would marvel at the Chinese long beans, asking what in the world they were and how on earth they were supposed to cook them.  Being that they are essentially long green beans my answer was simply to cook them any way that you like to cook green beans.  This response would then make people wonder, well then, why favor one over the other?  Long beans are much more tender and sweet and not quite as waxy as green beans, they also take a slightly shorter time to cook.

Of course you can simply sautee long beans up with some garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.  This is typically how they are served in Chinese restaurants.  But somehow I have grown quite bored of this preparation.  I guess it’s partly because I don’t like over cooked green beans, and blanching them like I do in this recipe keeps a bit of a crunch in them.  Also, because I commonly sautee other green veggies with oil and garlic, it’s nice to get some variety by mixing up these long beans with some fresh tomato and radish, dressed with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

 

Long Bean and Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad
3/4 lb Chinese long beans (or green beans)
1/2 lb mini heirloom tomatoes
2 medium radishes
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
a few leaves of fresh basil
 
Chinese Long Beans

Wash and trim your long beans, removing the rough stems and any dried out ends.  Chop them into roughly 3 inch pieces.  If you can’t find long beans then you can use green beans. just trim the ends and cut in half, prepare them otherwise the same.

Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil.  In order to blanch your long beans you’ll need to toss your cut beans into the boiling water for 1-2 minutes to let boil on medium-high heat until they are a bright green color and are slightly tender in texture.  While they are boiling fill a bowl with ice and water.  When your beans are cooked ladle them with a slotted spoon into the ice water bath to halt cooking.  Make sure to mix them in thoroughly and add more ice as needed so there are no hot pockets that will continue to cook the beans. Once cooled, drain the long beans and remove any ice cubes.  Dry your long beans off on a towel or paper towel for a few minutes so they do not water down the vinaigrette.

It’s a good idea to roast the pine nuts now, so they’ll have time to cool off.  Add the pine nuts to a small, dry frying pan and roast on medium heat.  It should only take 3-5 minutes, toss as you go so they don’t stick or burn.  You should be able to smell them roasting as the oils heat up.  Once they are slightly brown pull them off the heat and remove them from the pan to cool. Fresh BasilLemon Juice Now let’s get that vinaigrette started.  Whisk together the olive oil and brown mustard, you can really use any mustard you have on hand it will help the oil to emulsify with the lemon juice.  Once mixed, whisk in the lemon juice, salt, and minced basil leaves.  The consistency should be even.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Radishes Rinse your heirloom tomatoes and cut in half.  Rinse your radishes and slice thinly, removing the stem and the root. Gently toss the long beans, tomatoes and radishes in the mustard vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, some coarse finishing salt and fresh cracked pepper.  It’s best fresh but also does well as a left over. Long bean and heirloom tomato summer salad Enjoy!

Yields about 4 servings as a side

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