Here are three of the many ways we’ve been enjoying beans over the last couple of weeks since they arrived in full force: tossed deliciously with dill pesto, combined simply with raw tomatoes and basil, and served lavishly with feta cheese, toasted walnuts, olive oil and mint. No recipes required, though I explain dill pesto at the bottom of the post.
Luckily I held off planting green beans in my own garden since our CSA is bursting out all over, with quotas of 2-4 quarts that we pick each week. No exotic varieties, these are serious, down-to-green-earth BEANS, picked at 6-8 inches long, so a quart makes quite a few servings. I pickled a bunch of dill-flavored beans for the pantry, but the rest has been the basis of many flavorful summer salads. I say salad because of the veggie content and the fact that I served them at room temperature, but these have actually been main courses served alongside fresh corn and tomatoes.
After topping and tailing the beans (nipping off both ends), I cooked them in large quantities of boiling water for just a few minutes, long enough to become tender but not so long as to become waterlogged. While it was once fashionable to cook green beans for a nouvelle-cuisine-minute just until they squeaked, the (old) truth is that they are best when cooked until tender, which allows their flavor to develop. I’m still puzzling over what I once thought was “de rigueur” to serve them only half raw. They benefit greatly from a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil immediately after draining, which allows those flavors to infuse the beans.
Dill pesto is made in a similar manner to basil pesto: chop (in a food processor) dill fronds with a tiny bit of garlic (optional), a healthy pinch of salt, pine nuts or walnuts, and a little olive oil. To retain bright green color, toss the pesto into cool beans.