This is the first summer in the many years that I have lived in West Cork that the fields and paths have gone so yellow and crispy, that the water has been rationed and that I have slept under only a sheet.
It’s like living in another country and I have no complaints although the water is a bit dodgy.
The garden is almost weed free because there is no rain (dare I say this?) and the spuds are small but the beans are loving it. They think they are in the Mediterranean.
Being bean fiends we have several varieties growing. Both the borlotti beans, whose pods have turned bright pink and have creamy white and pink speckled beans within and the beautiful yellow pods full of creamy cannellini beans are a kind of limited edition but we have gazillions of French beans and the runner beans are looking pretty with their orange flowers and plenty of potential.
We’re picking bucketsful of French beans at the moment, some of which we eat – in curries, in salads, fritters, on the side of the plate…and the rest we trundle into the shop kitchen where they are landing into the salads
This month’s recipe is for a simply dressed green bean salad.
The beans have to be cooked just so. Into a big pot of salted boiling water for three to four minutes, then lifted and dumped into a big bowl of cold water. This attention to detail ensures that you have beans that squeak – the best beans for salads. The olive oil and vinegar are important too. I use white balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, brightened up with a sprinkle of salt.
Green Bean Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
• 450g French beans
• 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
• 1 clove garlic
• 75ml olive oil
• 25ml sunflower oil
• finely grated zest of 1 lemon
• 1 tbs white balsamic or white wine vinegar
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 50g grated Parmesan cheese
• Salt and pepper
• a large handful basil
Put a large pot of salted water to boil.
Put the sliced red onion into a bowl with a little salt, a tsp of sugar and a dsp vinegar. Give them a little massage and leave aside.
Top and tail the beans and when the water is boiling add the beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Test a bean. The beans should squeak when you bite one, barely tender. If they are ready strain and plunge into cold water.
Chop the garlic finely and mix together with the Dijon mustard and vinegar. Using a fork, whisk in the oils. Stir in the lemon zest Taste, and season.
Drain the green beans, snap them in half if they are bigger than bite sized, and put them in a bowl. Add a large handful of basil, grated Parmesan the sliced red onion and toss together with the vinaigrette. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Serve at room temperature.
The autumn cooking classes now have dates and names- Mediterranean, Vegan, Lebanese and Indian.
Check our advert on this page for details or drop into the shop if you are interested
Lettercollum Kitchen Project
22 Connolly Street