Zippy String Bean Salad

I really love gardening.  It’s relaxing, it’s fun, I like seeing things grow…and eating them.  Unfortunately gardens don’t like me much.  Which is why I was thrilled when my daughter Claire showed a little more potential in this area.  This year she decided to grow string beans.  Perfect!  I love string beans!  But then, she left for vacation.

Our bumper string bean crop.

So off to farmer’s market I went, where I scored a big wad of beans grown by professionals.

With the kids on vacation I haven’t been cooking much.  Plus it’s been hot and with no air conditioning in my house, turning on the oven just isn’t a wise idea.  So I’ve taken to getting creative with salads, particularly those where I can make a big batch and eat on it for 2 or 3 days.  This is one of those recipes.  If you make it all up except for the goat cheese and nuts, it will keep in the fridge for days, and I actually liked it even better the second day than I did the first.  Add the cheese and nuts when you are ready to eat it so the nuts stay crunchy and the cheese holds its shape.

Zippy String Bean Salad

Zippy String Bean Salad

1 pound green beans
1/2 cup red onion, sliced or chopped
1/2 red chile pepper, minced or thinly sliced
1/4 cup cider vinegar (I used apple jalapeno vinegar for an extra little kick)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup walnut halves
Crumbled goat cheese – 1-2 ounces per serving

Trim the ends off the beans.  Mix onion, chile pepper and vinegar in a serving bowl.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.   Toss in the beans and boil for 5 minutes. Do not boil these beautiful beans to death!  They should still have a little snap to them.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Add to the vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and toss well to coat.  At this point you can refrigerate for later or the next day.  Top with goat cheese and walnuts right before serving.

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