The best way to finish off a batch of green beans: tossed with bacon mustard dressing and summer squash blossoms.
Let's say you have chicken that needs to be cooked. Or maybe you're making burgers? Skewers? Doesn't matter. But you need some sort of side salad and you're not really feeling lettuce. In fact, you have a ton of summer green beans that need to be finished and this is exactly what you're going to make. Because the salad also has bacon, you're going to eat way more green beans than you thought, thereby making sure nothing goes to waste. I'm not saying this salad will solve all of your problems, but it does some heavy lifting.
Chris and I really like having salads or mixed dishes of some kind lingering in the fridge. They're my snack of choice and the perfect thing to finish up as leftovers with leftover entrée. They're easy and summer is all about the easy. Sometimes with summer produce, honestly mostly summer vegetables, I get a little ambitious at the farmers market. Tomatoes, berries, peaches we can plow through and finish them before they spoil. Green beans...zucchini...squash...honestly sometimes I buy too much. Or more accurately, I buy too much unless I know I have a recipe on hand that makes me crave said produce.
Because this salad starts with raw green beans, I want to note two things. One, it's important to get in season, amazing green beans. Not ones that are too old, dry and a little bitter. You want peak season green beans. Two, because the green beans are raw this salad is awesome as a leftover dish. The dressing kind of infuses into the beans over night and they're still nice and snappy and not mushy. I don't think that would be the case if I blanched these.
As for the squash blossoms...I bought them on a whim. This happened with my morrells from the market in spring. I typically can't get my hands on squash blossoms for some reason (all the more reason to garden) so when I saw them I needed them.
Most recipes just tempura and fry squash blossoms. Usually they involve some kind of stuffing with goat cheese or ricotta. And those are all fine, but as someone who is annoyed by recipes calling for visually stunning, but not crucial ingredients that are hard to get...I want to make sure ingredients we ask for serve a purpose. Yes, the squash blossoms are pretty, but more importantly, chiffonanded into this salad they add a nice grassy, fresh element that tones down the bacon and the mustard and salt. It helps cut through the strong salty, fatty delicious things that make the salad crave worthy.
So that being said, if you don't want to buy squash blossoms or can't find them, my advice is to maybe use some parsley instead. It won't add the pop of orange and the texture will be different, but it will get you that grassy kind of pop. If you have to choose, focus on getting good green beans.
Summer Green Bean Bacon Salad
side salad: serves 4
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 squash blossom
- 1 pound green beans (or three large handfuls- this is a flexible recipe, go with what you want!)
Cook bacon until crispy. Cool and rough chop. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Wash green beans and pat dry. Place in a large bowl (that allows room for tossing), pour dressing over top. Add bacon. Toss to coat. Plate. Chiffonade squash blossom (do not include base/stem-see images above). Sprinkle over top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate leftovers (Such a good snack!).
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