Growing up in the UK, a dish with fruit in it was served as dessert. I rarely included fruits of any sort in a main course until I met my wife who is of the American persuasion. My consternation when first presented with a cranberry crisp (basically a very sweet fruit cake) as part of a main course was the source of some amusement on the side of her family.
That having been said, I have increasingly welcomed fruit into salads over the course of the years and we are now entering my very favourite part of the year when lots of wonderful fruit is available. Mangoes are in the shuk as are all the stone fruits with nectarines having an incredible blushed colour which tells you how tasty they are before getting them on your plate!
I bought green beans with the intention of making a salad using red peppers and mushrooms – itself a great colour and taste combination. As I was trimming the beans my wife drew my attention to this recipe on the Saveur.com website and the plan was changed immediately.
I had nectarines rather than peaches as my kids prefer them – it’s that tactile thing – they don’t like the furry skin. I also lacked white balsamic vinegar (actually lacked an awareness that such a thing exists!) but figured that the regular balsamic would work fine instead.
It’s a beautiful salad – pretty to look at with the crispness of the beans being complemented by the soft and sweet nectarines and the tartness of the dressing. It’s really important not to overcook the beans and to transfer them to cold water once you’ve finished as this will keep them crisp and maintain their great colour.
This was a hit at the table and I’ll certainly be making it again before too long!
1 kilo green beans, trimmed
4 medium sized, ripe peaches or nectarines, sliced into 1/8ths (firm but with a little give to them. Solid is no good, squishy is simply unpleasant)
1 medium onion, sliced thinly in half rings
3 tbsp Olive oil + additional for frying in
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (if you have white then give that a try but the regular stuff is fine)
Salt and pepper
Saute the onion in a little olive (or other) oil until slightly caramelized – about 10 minutes
Add peach slices and cook stirring for approximately 5 minutes
Remove to a salad bowl – make sure to include all the yummy liquid
Blanch green beans in hot water for 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to cold (preferably iced) water.
Mix your olive oil, vinegar and a touch of salt and pepper
Add dressing to your peach and onion mixture, add drained beans and toss together.