As usual at this time of year we have runner beans coming out of our ears. I am not complaining (yet), they are so tender and delicious. They are lovely lightly boiled and then a pat of butter swirled into the drained beans. They are even better served with bacon, especially if you tip the drained beans into the pan with the bacon fat and the crusty bacon bits before piling high onto your plate. But when you are bored with those combinations then this might be the best way to serve them of all.
I grew dill for the first time this year. I have searched for a pot of it for some time from garden centres, but they just don’t seem to stock it. So a packet of seeds it was, then. To my surprise the seeds germinated and sprung up and have gone from strength to strength. (The surprise being, that I have been sufficiently green fingered as to not kill them, yet). I adore the gentle taste of dill, and I have been sure to grow it well away from my fennel, as Mr OC would never forgive me if I sprinkled fennel all over his beans. They are so similar to look at, but couldn’t taste more different.
This bean salad is very easy to make and can be made in advance to save any last-minute kitchen dashes.
When I make it, I pick as many beans as I think the people around the table will eat. Then when lightly boiled I drain them, briefly swill them under a cold running tap until just warm. Pour them into the serving dish, then douse them in a bath of oil and vinegar, crushed garlic and chopped dill. No measuring takes place and I like it to taste just a little on the sharp side of things, so I add more vinegar than would be acceptable for a recipe book vinaigrette. I urge you to do the same, and taste and adjust as necessary, but if you need measurements I have tried my best below.
To serve 4
Runner beans ( as many as you think people will eat, we are greedy and I would say 3-4 medium sized beans per serving)
2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 dessertspoon of vinegar ( I use the redcurrant vinegar that I made last year, but use whichever you like the most – white wine, balsamic, cider etc)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine with a pinch of sea salt
A good handful of dill, chopped finely (you could use mint with equally satisfying results)
Trim and prepare the runner beans, slicing on the diagonal into bite sized pieces. Bring a pan of water to the boil and carefully tip in the beans. Boil until tender, which won’t take many minutes. I like mine with a bit of bite left in them and if they are going to sit around, the oil and vinegar will soften them further, so be careful not to overcook. Drain them and place the sieve under a cold running tap for a few seconds just to take them down to warm. Tip into the serving bowl. Pour the oil and vinegar over them, add the garlic and the dill. Toss, and season with pepper, and salt if needed. Adjust the oil and vinegar ratio to your own taste.