Well, this is Day 2 of my ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ marathon. Yesterday, I posted Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts, a French dish influenced by the cheeses served in the Loire Valley. My kitchen has been all but turned upside down, trying to prepare and photograph five different salads within five consecutive days.
Today’s salad is a Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad, a colourful salad great to serve at Barbeques or at family gatherings. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The authors point out that it is impossible to define one style of ‘Jerusalem food’ since the region consists of a huge tapestry of cultures: Jews, Arabs, Christians, Greek and Russian Orthodox, etc.
However, one thing that is common in Jerusalem is the frequent use of olive oil, lemon juice and olives in cooking, as well as pastries stuffed with all sorts of cheeses. But a real eye opener for me was the comment that “food seems to be the only unifying force in this highly fractured place.” It is the one thing that brings people together, not only in Jerusalem but the whole world as well.
With this thought in mind, let us turn to the Mediterranean influenced Mixed Bean Salad. This recipe goes beyond the usual bean salad with its rich blend of herbs and spices, such as cumin and coriander seeds, as well as fresh tarragon.
This salad has many colours – many textures – just like Jerusalem!
- 280 g (10 oz) green beans, trimmed
- 280 g (10 oz) yellow beans, trimmed
- 1 large red pepper
- Olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 4 - 6 tbsp. capers (optional)
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 10 g (1/3 cup) chopped tarragon
- 20 g (2/3 cup) flat leaf parsley (or mixture of parsley and corander)
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- For the lemon vinaigrette dressing
- 80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
- 2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 180 C (360 F).
- Fill large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil; add the green and yellow beans, reduce heat and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until beans are cooked but still a bit crunchy. Refresh the beans by soaking briefly in ice-cold water, drain and pat dry and place in large mixing bowl.
- Slice the red pepper into quarters and rub well with olive oil. Place the peppers in oven with skin-side facing up. Bake for several minutes until the peppers become tender, remove from oven and slice into thin strips. Add peppers to bowl with the cooked beans.
- Prepare the lemon dressing: whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt/pepper. Add the dressing to the beans and red peppers and toss.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan or skillet, add the minced garlic, cumin coriander seeds and capers. Cook for several minutes then add to the mixing bowl containing the beans and red pepper,
- Slice the spring onion into pieces about 1 inch long, then slice again lengthwise. Add to the bean mixture, along with the tarragon, parsley, lemon zest and salt/pepper.
- Toss well and serve at room temperature.