Midsummer means the market is brimming with great produce. With such a colorful bounty of goods, we can settle into our summer cooking routines with tasty meals that are bright, casual and best enjoyed outdoors as much as possible.
When green beans come to market, early tomatoes are usually ready, too. I love a big vegetable salad dressed with a perky vinaigrette, always welcome. It can include both raw and cooked elements. For this salad, I combined blanched slender green beans, halved cherry tomatoes and cooked chickpeas. You could also add yellow wax beans or romano beans. If your market already has fresh shelling beans, use those instead of chickpeas. They’ll need 30 minutes of simmering after you shell them.
If you’re a bean nut like I am, plan ahead, and soak dried chickpeas overnight. With a soak, they only take an hour to cook, and their flavor is superior to that of canned ones. I usually cook a pound of chickpeas, using some for salads, some for soups and some for mashing.
Dressed and piled on a platter, this salad is aromatic and tantalizing, with its mingling of juicy tomatoes, garlic, fruity olive oil and feta. It could be a meal in itself. For more heft, add quarters of hard-cooked egg or slices of boiled potato.
Tomato-Green Bean Salad With Chickpeas, Feta and Dill
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 3/4 pound green beans, preferably slender haricots verts, trimmed
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 small lemon
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, mixed colors, halved
• 2 cups cooked chickpeas (from 1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can), cooled and drained
• 4 ounces feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)
• 2-3 tablespoons roughly chopped dill, for serving
• Pinch of dried oregano, for serving
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt, then the green beans. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer beans to a large bowl of cold water. Drain in a colander and blot green beans dry with a kitchen towel.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, put lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, a pinch of salt and some black pepper to taste. Whisk in olive oil.
Make the salad: Add cherry tomatoes, green beans and chickpeas to a large sal ad bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Add dressing and toss to coat. Add feta and toss once more. Let marinate for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
To serve, sprinkle generously with dill and oregano.
Total time: 30 minutes, makes 4-6 servings.