The Recipe: A "real" garden salad, made with fresh summer vegetables straight from the garden, crisp barely cooked green beans, ripe tomato, sweet corn kernels, all tossed in a tangy feta salad dressing.
The Conversation: Is anyone else unimpressed with what some places pass off as "garden salads"?
“It is delicious!" ~ Charlie
“Garden salad” – what image paints itself in your mind when reading this pair of words?
Are you like me, for whom the words have been hijacked by a certain style of restaurant? You know, the places that toss bags of prepackaged iceberg lettuce with pallid bits of tomato, grated cheddar and dusty croutons, douse it with gloppy ranch dressing and then pass this off as a “garden salad”.
This, people, this Green Bean Garden Salad, is a “real garden salad”. The beans are bright green and crisp, the tomatoes plump and wet, the corn kernels warm and slightly sweet. It all pulls together with a garlicky feta dressing with – get this – no added fat! None is needed, the lemon juice and honey provide just enough liquid to make the dressing easy to distribute throughout the vegetables.
Whether the vegetables comes from a farmshare, a green market, a farmstand or farmers market – even the cornucopia of high-quality fresh vegetables we find in modern supermarkets – this salad tastes like a garden on a plate. Without the dirt and pests, we hope!
A NEW GARLIC TRICK Tim Brennan, the baker extraordinaire at the St. Louis bakery and restaurant Cravings taught me this garlic trick. Mince a clove of garlic with your knife, then sprinkle about a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt on top of the garlic and let rest for a few minutes. The garlic will soften, making it easier to mince the garlic even finer. You can also “mash” the garlic easily into a garlicky paste with the flat side of the knife blade.
GREEN BEAN GARDEN SALAD RECIPE
with TOMATOES, CORN & FRESH DILL
Time to table: 35 minutes
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon table salt
- 1 pound green beans, stem end snapped
- Large bowl ice water
- 2 ounces feta cheese
- Zest & juice (about 2 tablespoons) of a lemon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 ear corn, kernels sliced off ear (How to Cut Corn Kernels Off an Ear)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
GREEN BEANS Bring water and salt to a boil. Drop beans into boiling water and let cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until “just done” but still bright green. Drain through a colander, then dip the entire colander into the ice water; use your hands to swish the water around until beans are cool. Lift colander out of the ice water, let drain a few minutes. Dry beans between double layers of paper towels until completely dry.
FETA DRESSING In a large bowl, use a fork to mix the dressing until smooth, it will be thick and a little grainy.
TO FINISH Toss beans into feta dressing, then gently stir in tomatoes and corn. Transfer to a serving dish and top with 1 tablespoon fresh dill.
TO MAKE AHEAD Cook and dry beans, mix the dressing and prep the tomatoes and corn. No more than an hour before serving, combine.
LEFTOVERS Best on first day but “okay” on second day.
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