After the pastry fest that was my sausage rolls, I thought some lighter fare was in order. A salad chock full of lovely crisp beans, peas, sweet tomato, zippy mustard and a final flourish of feta and bacon? Don't say I don't look after you......
This started life as a recipe form Ottolenghi's Plenty, but to be honest I have never actually eaten his version. My sister Lizzie made a variation of it for a BBQ dinner last week, and I liked it so much I wanted to recreate it at home, as a main meal salad rather than a side dish. I realised I was missing a few ingredients , and adding a whole lot more, so it is more a homage to the original. Anyway it is delish.
Green Bean and Pea salad with Feta
( inspired by the Green bean salad with mustard seeds and tarragon from Plenty)
Serves 2 generously
125gr french beans, top and tailed (that's about a large handful)
1/2 cup peas- I used frozen, but fresh would be lovely
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed or use ground coriander
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (or use spring onion)
1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
zest of a lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
Handful of lettuce, buttercrunch is nice here
salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 rashers of streaky bacon, fried or grilled until crisp (optional)
Bring a medium pot of water to the boil, add a dash of salt, and throw in your beans. Boil for 3 minutes, then take out of the water and put in a bowl of cold water that has a few ice cubes floating in it. After a minute or so, put the beans on a paper towel to dry off. This might seem a faff, but it takes the raw edge off your veges, while leaving a nice crunch for your salad.. Repeat the process with the peas, but they only need about 40 seconds.
In a small bowl put your chopped onion, mustard, chilli and garlic. Heat your olive oil in a small frying pan, and add your coriander seeds or ground coriander. Sizzle for a few seconds then pour over the onion mix and stir through. That's your cooking done.
Put your drained peas and beans in a salad bowl, and toss with the onion mixture. Add the tomatoes, lemon zest, and lettuce and season with salt & pepper to taste. Divide your salad between two pretty plates and crumble over your feta cheese and bacon if using.
This is seriously good, satisfying without being too heavy, and full of different flavours. The mustard and chilli give heat, while the pea is sweet, and the beans have great texture. I also thought it would be great with grilled fresh scallops, in which case I would keep the bacon (I love pork and shellfish together) but lose the feta cheese.
You could also lose the bacon and feta altogether and serve with some lovely little grilled lamb cutlets, in which case I would add some fragrant mint leaves to the salad..........have I convinced you to give it a go?
Ok, now for a tiny brag...........I was very excited this month to have Plum Kitchen mentioned on the Web Mistress page of the latest Next magazine. Look out for it, Maggie Barry is on this month's cover. Also make sure you check out the other lovely NZ food blogs mentioned,
I am in rather good company indeed. You can also see a version of the article at Lindsey Out Loud, Lindsey Dawson's blog. Have a read!