During the summer, we (almost) become vegetarians. We’ve gone overboard with our bean planting on more than one occasion, meaning that we are never lacking in the green bean department. Summer is peak green bean season, and we’ve come up with a dish that celebrates their flavor and color.
That’s why in this fresh bean dish, the lemon juice is added just before serving to keep the greens a beautiful bright green. Adding it any earlier would cause the beans to discolor.
There are more varieties of green beans than nearly any other vegetable, but they all have one thing in common–it’s best to pick them early. The younger they are, the more tender they are, and any strings are easier to remove-simply snap off the stem end and pull gently along the seam to remove the strings. If the beans are young enough, there’s no need to snap off the pointed ends–they will become tender when cooked.
If you are unable to harvest and use the beans quickly enough, leave them on the vine or bush until the plants die and the pods dry. The beans inside will become hard and dry and, once shelled, can be kept and used all winter.
- 1 pound green beans. Stem ends trimmed
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, basil or parsley (or a mix of all three)
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, mustard, garlic, and salt. Add the onion, herbs, lemon zest, and green beans and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
To serve, remove and discard the garlic, add the lemon juice, and toss well.