Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants including vitamins A and C, lutein, and lycopene. The carotenoid, lutein, which is found in abundance in tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, and egg yolks, may help promote cognitive function and prevent age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and breast cancer.
This recipe for Fresh Shelling and Green Bean Salad with Tomato, Garlic, and Marjoram is a bright, refreshing take on the classic summer three-bean salad. It was sent to CCSA as part of a series of emails from our resident chef, Dr. Linda Doody. She has been sharing her extensive collection of favorite recipes with friends, family, and the CCSA team as a means of maintaining connection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.
– Laiko Bahrs
Fresh Shelling and Green Bean Salad with Tomato, Garlic and Marjoram
Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads That Make a Meal, Tasha DeSerio (2012)
- 4½ cups shucked fresh shelling beans (~3 pounds in the pod) (fresh shelling beans can be cranberry beans, cannellini beans, black-eyed peas, or a combination. Cranberry beans are most often available. If a combination of beans is used, they should be cooked separately. Dried beans can be used; however, fresh shelling beans make the salad special)
- ¼ cup + 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt
- ½ pound green or yellow string beans, trimmed and halved at an angle
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed well and patted dry (optional)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 3 medium-sized, ripe, in-season tomatoes (~18 ounces), cut into ½-inch dice or rustic chunks (if possible, use backyard or farmer’s market tomatoes)
- ½ cup roughly chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbsp roughly chopped, fresh marjoram (fresh basil can be substituted, but a larger amount may be needed)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Put the shelling beans into a heavy medium pot and add 1 Tbsp oil, the bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt, and water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook the beans until tender and creamy, ~30 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Taste for salt and set aside to cool at room temperature. The beans can be refrigerated for up to 2 days at this point but return them to room temperature before finishing the salad.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with a generous amount of salt; it should taste almost like seawater. Add the green or yellow beans to the boiling water and cook until just crisp tender, ~2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size and type of beans. Drain the beans, spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and set aside at room temperature to cool.
- Put the shallot in a small bowl and cover in ice water to crisp and remove some of the pungent flavor.
- With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic to a smooth paste with a pinch of salt. If used, add the anchovies and pound again until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl (or leave in the mortar if large enough). Add the vinegar and let sit for 5–10 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 6 Tbsp olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
- Drain the shelling beans and shallot well; discard the bay leaf. Put the shelling beans, string beans, shallot, tomatoes, and herbs into a large bowl. Season with salt and add a few twists of black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more salt, vinegar, and/or oil if necessary. Spoon the salad onto a platter or individual plates and serve.
Beans can be eaten at three different stages: first as green or snap beans (which can also be purple and yellow); then as shelling beans (when the bean seed has formed but is not yet dried); and finally, as dried beans. Shelling beans such as cranberry beans are available fresh in the late summer and fall at farmers markets or well-stocked grocery stores. Cranberry beans (also called horticultural, borlotti or borlotto beans) have a distinctive cranberry-and-cream striated pod; when shelled, the beans inside may or may not be speckled. Choose pods that are full and pliable; the beans inside will be plump and mature and offer the best flavor. To shell, simply pop the pods open at the seam and strip out the beans. When cooked, the shelled beans are actually beige or mauve with an appealing creamy texture and mild flavor. The addition of fresh tomatoes takes this cranberry bean salad to the next level.