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Story - Food

Aug 3, 2017 4:38 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Get Creative With Fresh Beans

Four-bean salad.   JANEEN SARLIN
Aug 7, 2017 10:01 AM

Farm stands are brimming over with an award-winning trio of fresh green, purple, and yellow beans. If you add beautiful purple beans to a crudité platter, keep them raw because they turn a dark green hue after they are blanched, but their intense bean flavor remains.

Look for bright colored, slender beans that are crisp and blemish free. Store them in a tightly closed plastic bag for up to five days in the refrigerator. Blanch beans in a large pot of boiling water until they are crisp tender, immediately plunge them into a large pan of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them well, remove the stem ends (I leave the tips attached) and set aside until ready to prepare or reheat and serve.

My favorite green beans are straight out of the blanching pot, drained and unadorned—or topped with sautéed garlic. However, I’ve included two completely different toppings to dress up blanched beans. Tomato topped beans work well with grilled hamburgers or steak, while curried cashew dressed beans are delicious with chicken, lamb and seafood. Tasty tip: Triple the amount of curried cashews to have extra for snacking.

Traditionally, a three-bean salad is made with canned white, black and red beans. However, this is a four-bean salad with fresh green, yellow and purple beans plus canned black beans. Serve it for a main-course salad, or as a vegetable side dish with most any entrée. It’s perfect picnic food, or any time you like. This recipe is as easy as one, two, three, four! Bon appétit!

Blanched Fresh Beans(Serves 6)2 and 1/2 to 3 pounds fresh green, yellow or purple beans, washed

Large pot of boiling waterTo prepare:Drop the beans by handfuls into a large pot of boiling water set over high heat.

Cover the pot; when the water returns to a boil, uncover, and cook about two to three minutes. Check a bean every now and then until they are crunch tender, or done according to your personal preference. Undercook the beans if reheating them in a sauce or topping.

Drain and plunge the beans into cold water to stop the cooking process. Immediately drain well and shake off excess water. Cut off the stem ends, leaving the tips intact. Transfer to a serving dish. Or set aside if serving one of the following recipes.Green Beans With Tomatoes(Serves 4-6)2 to 3 pounds fresh green beans, blanched, stems trimmed

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 to 2 large tomatoes, washed, cored, seeded and chopped

About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

About 2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Pinch red pepper flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butterTo prepare:See previous recipe for blanching the beans.

In a skillet over moderate heat, coat the bottom with oil, when the oil shimmers, add garlic and sauté until aromatic.

Stir in tomatoes, basil, parsley, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sauté until the tomatoes begin to soften, about two minutes.

Add butter (or a bit more oil), taste and adjust the seasonings.

Add beans; toss lightly until they are hot, about two minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and pass at the table. Green Beans 
With Curried Cashews(Serves 4-6)2 to 3 pounds blanched green beans, stems trimmedFor curried cashews:1 cup unsalted cashews

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or more to taste

1 and 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper to tasteTo prepare:See previous recipe for blanching the beans.

For curried cashews:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and coat lightly with oil.

In a bowl, whisk lemon juice, curry powder, and salt together. Add cashews and toss to coat. Spread the nuts on the prepared pan and bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so until dry, about 40 minutes in total. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container if made ahead.

In a medium skillet over moderate heat, add oil and butter; when the foam subsides, add beans and toss until the beans are coated, about two minutes.

Add cashews and toss with the beans until they are hot.

Season with pepper and transfer the beans to a serving bowl.Summer 2017 
Four-Bean Salad(Serves 4-6)2 1/2 to 3 pounds fresh beans, green, yellow, and purple

1 can black beans, drained

1 large white onion, diced

1 large heirloom tomato, cored

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil, approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons

Balsamic vinegar glaze for drizzlingTo prepare:In a large pot of boiling water, drop in the beans and blanch until crunch tender, about three to four minutes. Taste one or two beans to check for doneness. Drain into a colander and immediately plunge them into very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again, shaking off all the excess water. Set aside.

Cut stems off the beans, leaving the tails intact. Cut the beans into 1/4-inch lengths and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Dice the onion, add to the beans, and mix well.

Empty the black beans into a strainer, rinse with cold water, and shake off excess liquid. Drain well and toss into the vegetables.

Cut tomatoes into lengthwise slices, cut the slices into small dice, and transfer tomatoes with their seeds and juices to the bowl with beans. Gently toss together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and approximately one teaspoon of glaze to start. Taste and adjust the amount of oil, glaze, and seasonings. Can be done ahead, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature before serving.

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