Monday, September 27, 2010

(Purple) Bean and Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts


Salads are a great food, full of bright colors and crunchy vegetables. However, being vegan, we have had so many salads over the years: often it's our only choice at restaurants or meat-eater's houses. So, while a side of raw greens with some kind of sauce often ends up beside our main course, traditional salads aren't particularly exciting to us. That said, vegetables certainly are. Especially vegetables that we have grown in our own garden! Often, these vegetables are given minimal treatment and then served as-is, with a flavorful sauce on top. We call that sauce dressing and we call the dish salad.This dish is made from Royalty Purple Pod Beans, an heirloom variety of bush beans that looks like any slender green beans you could find at the market: except they have a rich purple color. The funny thingabout them is that they change color when the cook, and they end up looking a lot like green beans. They are delicious anyway: bright and fresh-tasting, and the small tinges of purple on the edges make them fit for a king.
Of course, anyone who wants to make this recipe will probably end up using green beans, and nobody will be the wiser. This recipe combines warm sauteed pod beans with raw marinated fennel, a tangy mustard-citrus
dressing and the rich crunch of toasted walnuts. It is perfect for this transitional time between summer and fall, crisp and bright, but with a hearty savoriness perfect for the cooler months ahead. Bon App├ętit!

(Purple) Bean and Fennel Salad with Toasted Walnuts
20-30 minutes, Serves 3-4
Ingredients:
about 3 cups purple pod beans (or green beans), sliced in half
1 tsp. salt
2 tbs. oil
1 tsp. maple syrup
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 tbs. whole-grain mustard
salt, to taste
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tbs. fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
2 tbs. fennel fronds, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup raw walnuts

Method:
1) Combine all ingredients in first column (beans through lime juice), leaving garlic aside.
2) Heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat, add beans and spread in a single layer. Do not stir. Let beans cook for about 5 minutes, then add garlic and stir once to combine. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until crisp-tender.
3) While the beans cook, combine all ingredients in second column (fennel bulb through fennel frond). Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. (Or prepare this mixture in advance and marinate as long as you want)
4) Toast the walnuts: Either for 3 minutes in a toasted oven, or constantly stirring over medium heat on the stove top. Allow to cool briefly, then chop.
5) Combine the warm beans with the fennel and its marinade. Top with chopped walnuts and garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.


Becky Mae thinks it looks good enough to eat!