I grew up on farms as my father worked as an Agriculture scientist. My father is very fond of gardening and we always had a kitchen garden where he would grow all sorts of seasonal vegetables, free of any chemicals. I still remember we used to get French beans only in winter season. My father would pluck them fresh from the garden and my mom would cook them with potatoes as a curry (which my brother and I didn’t like much).
Later, when I travelled to Europe I learnt that French beans could be prepared in so many different ways. I liked slightly blanched ones, seasoned and topped with butter (simple and my all time favorite). Apart from that they can be used in various salads, and of course there are so many versions in salads as well.
Much later in Sri Lanka I learnt completely different way of cooking them, in coconut milk with lots of spices, as fragrant hot curry, which I would like to share with you some other time.
Recently I got my hands on two big bundles of very fresh French beans, so delicate and full of flavor that couldn’t think of any other recipe but this tangy salad, which can be used as entrée or a side dish.
500g tender French beans, topped and tailed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp yellow mustard paste or half and half yellow and English mustard
1 tbsp White wine vinegar (or any other natural vinegar)
2 tbsp capers
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed (I like a lot of garlic)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Handful of fresh basil, torn with hands
Salt to taste
- Mix all the ingredients of dressing in a large bowl and keep it aside.
- To blanch beans bring 3/4th pan of water to boil (in a large pan) with half teaspoon of sugar and 1 tsp salt.
- Add beans to the boiling water, stir well.
- Bring it to boil once more on full heat and let it blanch for a minute or so.
- Drain all the water through colander. Add to the bowl with dressing, mix well.
Serve as you wish, warm or cold, great as side dish with roasted or baked chicken.
P. S.: Sometimes I also add a piece of boiled chicken breast, torn into small pieces with hands and just thrown in. And voila – a wholesome meal is ready to be enjoyed!