13 August 2008

Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad


Have I said this before? Oh yes, but here I go again. I love green beans! Always have. Still I don’t usually find that I get all that imaginative when it comes to serving them. I like them a few ways and that’s how I usually prepare them. For comfort food I like them cooked long and slow with onion and a piece of ham or a little bacon grease. I do that on holidays or when I’m having an old fashioned southern style meal. I also like green beans with a fresh bright ginger sauce in a recipe I discovered earlier this year, for a more contemporary approach. And I like them plain, simply steamed and tossed with a few drops of sesame oil and/or tamari sauce.

Now I have discovered a great salad featuring green beans. When it all comes together just right, which is to say when I don’t burn the nuts or overcook the beans, or compromise on the freshness of the dill, it is better than good. This salad is green bean poetry! It is composed of the tender crunch of garden fresh green beans cooked al dente, punctuated by the brisk intensity of thinly sliced red onion circles. To offset the colorful textures it adds the soft salty tang of freshly crumbled feta cheese. Then this tasty composition is balanced by the earthy depth of toasted walnuts, and the feathery sweet subtlety of freshly snipped dill. Gathered in a spare oil and vinegar dressing, with a touch of garlic, these flavors and textures delight the eye and satisfy the palate.

This recipe was once clipped from an issue of Southern Living. It took me years to try it but I’m so glad I finally did. It has added a bright spot to my summer and armed me with the perfect dish to take to summer barbecues or serve as a side for simple make ahead dinners. I recommend it highly.


Green Bean, Walnut and Feta Salad
(from Southern Living)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ pounds fresh green beans
1 small purple onion (or 1/2 - 1 cup of the smaller inner rings of a red onion), thinly sliced
1 (4-oz) package feta cheese

Toast walnuts by spreading in a shallow baking pan and placing in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Trim and cut green beans into two inch pieces. Arrange the beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp tender (approximately 15 minutes.) Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry.

Toss together beans, walnuts and onions in a serving dish. Crumble the feta cheese over the top. Cover and refrigerate.

One hour before serving, pour prepared dressing over bean mixture. Toss thoroughly just before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

7 comments:

Ivy said...

This looks really yummy and healthy(minus the red onions though-I don't like raw onions so much. :)

Paula said...

Oh, you and I have similar taste buds! I would love this salad. I've not seen anything like it before, and it's way better than your typical 3 bean salad. This would be great at a BBQ. Yum!

Grace said...

i'm so boring--the only way i've ever eaten green beans is boiled. not even a green bean casserole has been found in my kitchen. i guess i'm a purist. i may change all that, however--this sounds pretty darn enticing. :)

OhioMom said...

Oh Yes, I love green beans too, usually cooked with a little garlic and rosemary .. but this salad looks delightful!

ayankeeinasouthernkitchen said...

This looks so good and I like my green beans decorated rather than just plain. The ginger sauce version is also my kind of food. I will have to get some at the market as I don't think I have had beans all summer.

Lisa said...

ivy - Going light on the onions would be fine. They do add a nice splash of color though.

paula - We do seem to have a number of things in common! This salad has been great for BBQs this summer. It seems to add a nice contrast to what others have been making lately.

grace- I confess, I like green beans most any way they are served. Boring is okay if it's what you like. But if you get feeling adventurous, then give this a try. :-)

ohiomom - Garlic and rosemary - YUM!

ayankeeinasouthernkitchen - Decorated?! I like that description! The green beans at our market have been so pretty lately, smooth and fresh looking. Enjoy!

Melpy said...

I just made these and they were delicious. I don't really like fresh dill so I used dried dill weed. Thanks for recipe! Yankee's idea of ginger sauce and OhioMom's garlic and rosemary sound tasty too!