Warm Green & Wax Bean Salad with Mixed Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, Crispy Bacon & Red Wine Vinaigrette

This is an example of how inspirational the farmer’s market can be. I came up with this recipe last summer by just going to the market, buying a bunch of stuff that tasted amazing by itself, went home and figured out what I was going to do with it. It always works, its almost fool proof. This is the kind of meal that I love to make…you buy the best, freshest ingredients you can find and do very little to them. You could do all sorts of things with something like a a perfectly fresh, sweet tomato but its not necessary. Its been perfected by nature, the less you do to it, the more amazing the dish will be, trust me, you can not screw it up!

I’m getting anxious that the summer is basically over and soon the best produce of the year will fade out of season. That’s why I’m buying as much of that produce from the farmer’s market as I can while their still around. This is as seasonal as it gets and it can be used as a side for a bigger meal or simply as a meal all in its own. The Parmesan cheese melts in the warmness of the beans and mixes with the vinaigrette to form this amazingly tangy sauce that you just want to drink. That mixed with the perfection of the beans and tomato and the crunchy bacon make for a perfect meal.

This summer’s warm weather has been providing an ideal environment for the season’s produce and the market this time of year is really amazing. Farmers are freaking out because of this years robust tomato harvest. They are saying its one of the best years in recent memory for tomatoes. The ones I used were ridiculously perfect, literally, un-fucking-believable. The green and wax beans as well. Bottom line, yea, you could shop at your local Supermarket conglomerate but you are not going to get nearly the same finished product as you would if you’d have shopped at the farmers market. The difference would absolutely blow you away.

Ingredients: Servers 2

1 Pint of Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

A bunch of Green Bean and Wax Beans (Honestly, I don’t know how much I got, I just eye balled it.  M aybe a heaping hand full of each, maybe more if you are serving more than 2 people.)

6-7 Slices of Really Good Bacon, Cut into Bite Sized Pieces (NO CRAP!)

1 Onion

2 Garlic Cloves, Halved and Thinly Sliced

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon of Honey

Handful of Parmesan Cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

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To clean up the green beans just line a bunch up at a time, chop off the stemy ends and then cut the rest of the green beans in half. To the same to the wax beans but them hold them off to the side. You’re going to blanch the green beans but not the wax beans. Wax beans cook best when you cook them on high heat for a short amount of time. Green beans are best when you blanch them in boiling salty water for about 3-4 minutes and then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and maintain the bright green color. Once you’ve blanched the green beans, keep both wax and green beans to the side until you’re ready to use them.

Get out a big bowl and make your vinaigrette in the bottom. Now I put measurements above but they may not be accurate. Eye ball it and just remember that a proper vinaigrette is comprised of 1 part acid (any citrus or vinegar) to 2 parts oil. Every vinaigrette I make I use that ration plus a tablespoon each of honey/agave nectar and Dijon mustard. So in the bowl add you vinegar (1 part), honey, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Keep whisking and slowly drizzle in the oil (2 parts) until you create an emulsion and the oil and vinegar become one. Taste it and adjust it to your taste. A little too much vinegar? Mellow it out with some more honey. It the sweetness is good but needs something add a tiny bit more mustard or salt. Just keep tasting and it will come together for you. This will help you learn how to make it taste good. If you can learn how to make a vinaigrette taste great, you’ll gradually get better at learning how to make everything taste amazing…I promise.

Slice the tomatoes in half and then toss in the vinaigrette to marinate while you prepare the bacon.

Take your bacon and slice it into little pieces but not too little. You want crispy little bits to sprinkle on top at the end for a nice crunch, it really makes the dish. Toss the little bacon pieces in a cold pan and turn the heat on to medium and let the bacon slowly cook and render out its fat. You want to cook it till it looks crispy but still has a little chew to it. It will continues to crispy up when you take it off the heat so if you cook it to crispy, you finished product will not be as tasty because the bacon will be borderline burnt.

While the bacon is cooking, prepare the onions and garlic. Chop the head off and cut the onion in half then remove the skin. Make vertical cuts across the surface of the onion and then dice it up.

Halve the garlic then thinly slice.

Once the bacon is finished, transfer to a paper towel and then add the onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Once soft, add the green and wax beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the wax beans are cooked then add the beans to the tomatoes and vinaigrette.

Add about 2/3 of the crispy bacon bits and a handful of Parmesan cheese.

Plate up and sprinkle a little more Parmesan on top and finish it with the rest of the bacon.

You gonna make this? If so take a pic and show me.

Don’t forget, email me anytime….thefoodfreak@gmail.com

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