September 12, 2018

Dear friends,
Tony’s green beans may be done for the season, but we’re not done with green beans. We won’t be for a long time, either. It’s one of the few vegetables that is reliably available throughout the year.

Before the corn is finished, though, you will want to make one more green bean salad. I found the recipe in a Rick Bayless book. He’s the lauded chef of Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo modern Mexican restaurants, and he’s never steered me wrong.

I thought this may be the first time, though, when I made his green bean salad. It was OK. Nothing special. None of the explosive flavors Bayless is noted for. Then I tasted the salad after a night in the fridge. Whoa. The unassuming little green bean salad had gone gonzo. The flavor was amped in all the right ways. I ate some for breakfast. Yum.

The recipe that follows is mostly Bayless’s, although I added corn kernels because ’tis the season, and crumbled feta for a counterpoint of creaminess. I also swapped sweet onion for red because that’s what I had on hand. If you have any potlucks coming up, make this a day in advance and treat your friends.

GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH CORN, FETA AND TOMATILLO DRESSING

Salad:
3/4 lb. fresh green beans
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 ear corn, kernels sliced off
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Dressing:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup good-quality green tomatillo salsa
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

For the salad, cook green beans in boiling water just until tender, about 5 minutes; drain and refresh under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain well and transfer to a serving bowl. Add onion, corn and feta and gently toss.

For the dressing, combine the oil, salsa, lime juice and salt in a lidded jar and shake well and add more salt if necessary. Drizzle about 1/3 cup over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for another use.

Scatter cilantro over salad, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. The flavor continues to develop as it sits. Toss again before serving. Makes about 4 servings.

From “Mexican Everyday” by Rick Bayless.

GUT CHECK
What I cooked last week:
Cuban roast mojo pork shoulder and baked sweet potatoes; open-faced sandwich of Cuban roast pork, pickled red peppers, pesto and avocado on toasted seeded bread; roast chicken thighs over carrots, green onions and branches of thyme with white wine and roasted beets.

What I ate in/from restaurants last week:
Chipotle burrito bowl with double carnitas; salad with grilled chicken and pita wedges at Alexandris Restaurant in Wadsworth; small spicy Thai salad with chicken, baguette and iced coffee at Panera.

THE MAILBAG
From Anne:
On the topic of mayo vs. salad dressing, I grew up with Miracle Whip and have never really been able to choke down mayo unless it’s well-disguised with Hidden Valley Ranch. I think it’s the eggy-blandness texture I couldn’t get past. I had aways used Miracle whip on sandwiches and in macaroni and egg salads. My mother, who raised me on Miracle Whip, now reports that she has always liked mayo better but salad dressing was cheaper to feed a family.

Over the years I have also noticed that my egg and mac salads seemed to deteriorate on day two, and over time would turn into a watery mess. Imagine reading your discovery of my issues and to know I wasn’t the only one with these problems! Then I remembered Mom sometimes bought Spin Blend salad dressing… When I looked, no Spin Blend at Acme or Giant Eagle but I found it at 2 for $6 at Marc’s. Just a heads up for anyone looking for it.

Dear Anne:
Spin Blend! I haven’t thought of that brand in years. When I was little we were a Miracle Whip family. But I bet a lot of people are switching since Kraft reduced the fat, causing Miracle Whip to become watery in salads over time.

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