July and August are undoubtedly our favourite season for local produce. There are beans, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, new potatoes – oh so many to choose from. Every Sunday in the summer Donna-Marie makes the trek across town to Herrles Country Farm Market where she “waxes” prophetically over which vegetables are going to make it into her weekly meal plan. For the past two, the green and yellow wax beans have made an appearance on her dinner table in one dish or another. (Truth be told, a package of those peanut butter sandwich cookies always seem to make it home too!)
With the heat wave of last week, and teaching kids at summer cooking camp during the day, most of her evening meals involved no real cooking to speak of. This bean salad made an appearance a few times for dinner. It involves the process of blanching the beans then tossing in a simple tomato vinaigrette. Blanching is a basic cooking technique whereby you briefly cook vegetables in boiling water then plunge into ice water to halt or stop the cooking process. It’s an ideal cooking technique used to protect colour and texture, when you want to prepare ingredients ahead of time or done when you are preparing vegetables for freezing. Blanched vegetables can be used in crudités platters, salads, sushi rolls, stir fries or refrigerated or frozen for later use. It’s the perfect technique to use for this simple summer salad. The yellow wax beans in the salad compliment a traditional green bean so nicely but if only green are available, use them.