We don't hear people raving about string beans often. Hopefully, this summer salad-slash-dish will change your mind. The beans are straight from the grill-slash-broiler, yet still fresh and crunchy, fragrant with basil oil, and oh-so-indulgent with all the olive puree and mozzarella. (My favorite part is the play of two acids, a touch of red wine vinegar and a touch of lemon.) We have this often for dinner in the summer, because it's so easy to make, and because you just need a slice of fresh bread and a glass of white wine, and you are ready to go. —QueenSashy
4-6 first course servings
yellow string beans
and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some more for drizzling
First, prepare the basil oil. In a small bowl, mix the basil with 1/4 cups of olive oil. Leave for 15 minutes for the flavors to infuse.
Make the olive puree. In a food processor, puree the olives, garlic, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and capers (if using). Season with pepper.
Preheat the broiler. Drizzle the string beans with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the string beans on a baking pan in one layer. Do not overcrowd the pan. Place the pan under the broiler, and broil turning the string beans once, until lightly charred yet still crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. (I preheat the broiler to 500F and place the pan about 3 inches away. However, not all broiler setups are equal, so you may have to adjust the time based on your setup. Start keeping an eye on the beans at about 5 minutes.)
Remove the pan from the oven and let the string beans come to room temperature. When they are cool enough, drizzle them with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of the basil oil.
Place the string beans on a plate. Top with the olive puree and mozzarella. (You may not use all of the puree, keep some on the side for dipping.) Drizzle with the remaining basil oil and serve.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.