I’m sometimes at a loss when it comes to green beans. I mean, sure: when I’ve got a handful or two, the way I will buy them at the farmer’s market, I’ll toss them into a curry or noodle dish, no problem. But often it seems, when beans are ready, they are READY: the harvest comes fast & furious, and we end up with two bulging gallon Ziplocs in the fridge, courtesy of the CSA (and of me avoiding green beans for a week or two). And the work of washing, trimming, sorting, and chopping all of those greens beans, not to mention a pre-blanch in boiling water to perk up the green, somehow falls by the wayside until I absolutely have to do it.
When faced with an overabundance of green beans, I confess I often resort to a simple blanch-and-freeze, figuring I’ll enjoy them over the winter. Or, I stuff them into jars, making dilly beans or another interesting pickle. But this summer has been slim on the putting-things-in-jars front: I’m still in that phase of post-World-Cup ennui that makes anything more strenuous than sitting on the couch eating lime popsicles seem impossible. But, as Tai was coming home from three days in the Catskills last night I guessed he’d want a good dinner, something that involved an actual fresh, crisp vegetable. And what did we have plenty of in the fridge? Green beans, natch.
Though it did feel like I used every dish in the kitchen (see above re: World Cup ennui), this salad was quite a nice surprise. Smoky and spicy, richly flavorful yet still light and crisp and green, with none of the squeaky texture that plagues an under-cooked green bean, this dish was a winner. Tai & I both had two bowls, which we enjoyed out on the back deck along with hard apple cider and lazy August twilight. And I cleared a giant Ziploc of green beans out of the fridge. #winning
- 1 lb bacon
- 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed, sliced into 2-inch lengths
- 3 small ears of corn, shucked
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- good handful of celery leaves, chopped (or 2 stalks, thinly sliced)
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, minced
- zest + juice of 1 medium lime
- olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp ground chipotle pepper
- ¼ tsp red chile flakes
- few grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 tsp honey
- Use your favorite method to cook the bacon until crisp (I like my cast iron skillet). Drain off bacon grease and reserve for another recipe. Coarsely chop or tear bacon into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Prepare an ice bath. Add the corn on the cob to the boiling water: cover and bring back to a brisk boil. Cook, at a boil, until corn is bright yellow (and/or tender), about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water with tongs and pop into the ice bath. Bring water back to a boil and add green beans: cover, return to a boil, and cook green beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Strain and plunge green beans into the ice bath to stop cooking.
- Once cooled, remove green beans from ice bath and dry in a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to a large bowl. Cut corn off of the cobs and add to the bowl. Add scallion, celery leaves and jalapeño: toss to mix.
- Add lime zest and juice to a small jam jar. Add olive oil, about 3 times the volume of the lime juice. Add salt, chipotle, red chile, and black pepper. Cover, shake vigorously and taste. Add honey if needed, and adjust flavorings. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly. Taste again and make any adjustments. Finally, add crumbled bacon and toss one more time. Serve.
Serves 4 – 6.
- For even more smoky flavor, use grilled corn.
- The salad as written was nicely spiced, but not overly spicy: adjust the heat by adding more jalapeño or chipotle as you wish.
- Salad keeps crisp and holds up well after storage, so this is a good option for make-ahead and take-to-a-barbecue salad.
Refrigerated for up to 2 days.