And then that moment of summer arrives when the green beans are piled so high at the markets, and being sold at such a low price, that you feel like you’d be a fool not to pick up a pound or two or five. I mean they are practically giving them away for free. (And if you have a garden, then you may be trying to give away a pound or two or five.)
So you bring home that hill ‚Äî or mountain ‚Äî of green beans, and you have to figure out what to do with them.
Sauteing some green beans in a bit of olive oil and butter and then finishing them off by adding some water or broth to the pan and steaming them ‚Äî that’s the way I go most of the time. Quite delicious, with a nice dusting of salt and pepper, and they go with everything. After a few days though, my family starts to look at me with flickers of boredom in their eyes. And I still have mountains of beans to climb.
That’s where bean salads come into play. A great late-summer, early-fall way to put those beans to use. Not to mention bean salads are portable, picnic-worthy and can be made ahead of time.
This one is so simple ‚Äî really just beans with a vinaigrette. A day in the fridge will deepen the flavour.
If you wanted to go for a warm bean salad, skip the ice-water bath and cook the beans for about 5 minutes until still crisp tender. Drain and toss the warm beans with the vinaigrette, then let cool slightly. The beans will continue to soften a bit as they cool in the vinaigrette, so make sure to drain them before they are too tender.
Creole mustard is a coarse, stone-ground mustard, zippy and with a nice, nubby texture. Once this ingredient becomes part of your pantry, it will never NOT be there. Any Louisianan will tell you, don’t you dare make a remoulade sauce without it. But if you wanted to use a coarse Dijon, that will also work just fine (just don’t shoot your mouth off about it down South).
HONEY CREOLE MUSTARD GREEN BEANS
Servings: 4 to 6
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium-size bowl with ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well, and plunge them into the bowl of ice water. Drain when they have cooled.
While the beans are cooking, in a large serving bowl, whisk together the honey, Creole mustard, vinegar, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
Toss the cooled green beans in the dressing, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and serve at room temperature.