Keeping up with the veggie vitality in the gardens is becoming a big part of each day now that it is mid-July. This morning I picked tons of lemon balm and stripped off the leaves. They were popped into the dehydrator and after a couple of hours I had a lovely, lemony tea for the cold winter days of the future.
When I get home from the bookshop I will do another round of garden touring to see how many herbs, lettuces, cucumbers and snow peas are in need of harvesting for a cool salad. I may even to need to pick some more of the Yellow String Beans that I plucked over the weekend and made into a savory salad for a steamy supper. This salad was good warm that evening and even better served cold the next day. The key is to pick the beans when they are very young and tender and cooked just until they squeak on your teeth. String bean nirvana!
I am submitting this recipe to the "No Croutons Required" event at Tinned Tomatoes, a Scottish vegetarian blog I just discovered. No Croutons Required is a monthly recipe roundup of soup and salad recipes and this month's theme concentrates on one's favorite herb or an herb you haven't experimented with. The Yellow Bean Salad below is one that uses thyme, which I haven't used all that much until this year, when the perennial plant that I scooped out of my mom's garden has really taken off. I used a good bit of fresh thyme in this salad and I think it really was a great aromatic addition. My recipe even makes use of Tinned Tomatoes, so I think this was recipe was preordained for this event.
Yellow String Beans and Tomatoes
1 lb. yellow string beans, trimmed of blossom ends and cut in half horizontally
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes(juice drained and saved for soup stock or a Bloody Mary)
Splash of white wine
Splash of rice or cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a vigorous boil. Add beans and cook 6-8 minutes, just until they are crisp-tender (the aforementioned squeak on the teeth test). Drain and plunge into cold water to stop beans from cooking.
Heat oil in large skillet. Add garlic and stir constantly for one minute. Add onion and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add tomatoes and white wine and cook until heated through. Add beans back to skillet, along with vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper. Heat through and serve warm or cold.
Serve over lettuce for 4 dinner servings or as a side salad to 6 people.