When you have your own vegetable garden there’s always something coming out of your ears.
Right now, with us, it’s cabbages and beetroots, which are lush and large after all the warm, wet weather. Luckily they hold quite well so we don’t actually have to eat them all at once and they are supplying a steady supply of cole slaws and beetroot salads to the shop.
When we get a little sunshine at this time of the year it really shifts things along and when it happens it’s woompf, everything ripens before our eyes.
Sunshine also has a great impact on flavour, which is why a locally grown and ripened tomato is going to taste so much better than a tomato that has been picked under-ripe and then travelled hundreds of kilometers in refrigerated trucks. Hopefully by the time that you read this, the tomatoes will be ripening at a fantastic rate and they will be available in the farmers markets and local shops. Vegetables that ripen at the same time usually make great partnerships and this months recipe is simple assembly of ingredients, French beans, tomatoes and basil, tossed with a tasty vinaigrette. It entails virtually no cooking, and is suitable for all occasions. Even if the weather is still under performing you will taste summer on your plate.
Follow the directions to cook the beans carefully as it’s important that the beans are not overdone.
Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Basil
450g French beans
250g ripe tomatoes, any shape or size
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove garlic
75ml olive oil
25ml sunflower oil
1 tbs white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
50g coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
a large handful basil, roughly chopped
Peel and finely slice the red onion. Rub a little salt into it and break up the rings. Leave aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe and this will soften the onion.
Put a large pot of salted water to boil. It needs to be large pot full of water so that when the beans are put in the temperature of the water doesn’t drop drastically. The quicker the water returns to the boil the squeakier your beans will be
Top and tail the beans and when the water is boiling add the beans. When the water returns to the boil cook for about 4 minutes. Test a bean by biting into one. The beans should squeak when you bite and be barely tender. If they are ready strain and plunge into cold water. This will stop them from
Wash the tomatoes and chop into small chunks, about a centimetre each if possible or if you use cherry tomatoes cut them into half.
To make the vinaigrette chop the garlic finely and mix together with the Dijon mustard and vinegar. Whisk in the oils in with a fork or a small whisk. Taste, and season with salt and pepper
Drain the beans and cut into roughly 5-6cm lengths..
Put the beans and tomatoes into a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt then add the onion, basil and coarsely grated parmesan. When you are ready to eat toss everything together with the vinaigrette and serve immediately
The schedule for the autumn cooking classes is now ready and we will be beginning with a Harvest cooking class at Lettercollum on Saturday 15th September which will have plenty of simple seasonal recipes for soups, salads and easy dinners. Our website www.lettercollum.ie has the full autumn programme.
On a final note we would like to thank everyone that helped us to clean up the shop after the flooding earlier this month. The kitchen is now fully functioning and we’re happy to be back in business.