This salad will begin to show up regularly around here because it tastes amazing
and because it uses fresh garden food. Hello summer! I can eat a big bowl and call it dinner, but usually I'll serve it alongside something cooked on the grill. It's great with all the proteins - chicken, fish, or steak. And even though I call it a warm salad, it can definitely be eaten at room temperature. Let me show you how easy this is to put together.
Wash and trim your green beans. I bought these in the store, but when my garden beans start to come in, I will pick the smallest ones for this salad. I like the tenderness of the young beans.
While I was chopping, I prepared some green garlic scapes to go into the dressing. Normally I would use a couple of garlic cloves, but during this short window of time when I have these scapes, I use them interchangeably or with regular garlic. They taste a bit milder than a garlic clove and are really delicious. I think they are one of the coolest things that grow in my garden and they are a sign of good things to come.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in a big pinch of salt and the green beans. You will cook the beans until they are crisp tender.
While the beans are cooking in one pot, start some bacon in a skillet. I prefer a nice thick sliced bacon and I used three strips today. You can adjust the amount of bacon you use to the size of your salad.
When the bacon has cooked to a desired crispness, place on a paper towel to drain. I poured off all but a couple of tablespoons of rendered fat in the pan and then sautéed the garlic and scapes in the same pan. This will only take a couple of minutes and keep a close eye on it, because you don't want the garlic to brown! When the garlic is tender, pour the contents of the pan into a small jar where you will make the dressing.
Add a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (sherry vinegar is good too) to the jar, along with a tablespoon of olive oil. You should still have about a tablespoon of bacon fat left in the pan, but if not, add two tablespoons of olive oil. You want to have equal amount of vinegar and oils. Put a lid on your jar and shake.
In a bowl, mix crumbled bacon, halved cherry tomatoes, drained green beans and crumbled blue cheese. You could also use feta cheese or shaved parmesan. We like all the cheeses around here! Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and eat right away.
Warm Green Bean Salad
fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
3-4 strips of thick sliced bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 cloves of garlic or a combination of chopped garlic scapes and garlic
a cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
crumbled blue cheese ( or feta or shaved parmesan)
1-2 T. light olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
Cook your beans in salted boiling water until crisp tender.
Cook bacon to desired crispness. Crumble and set aside.
Saute garlic in skillet with a couple tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, just until tender.
Pour contents of skillet into a small jar. Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Shake.
In large bowl, mix cooked beans, crumbled bacon, cherry tomatoes and cheese. Pour dressing over salad and gently mix.