One of Steve’s gardening adventures this year is green beans. We had a few bush beans last year, but these are the pole bean variety and he has them growing up a privacy fence that he also built beside the back porch. I honestly do not usually use a recipe for cooking green beans. I am a fan of sauteing them in a skillet with a little olive oil and sea salt, but we have had a lot of beans, so I decided to get a little more creative and make this green bean salad out of them.
As a side note, growing green beans has led to quite a discussion around here about the southern colloquialism “a mess.” I had really only heard it in reference to beans, but apparently it is quite common with other vegetables and fish. The only person I know that really used the term regularly was my grandmother. She would say she was going to “cook/buy/pick a mess of beans.” I distinctly remember asking her what exactly a mess was when I was a teenager. Her reply was “enough to cook for dinner.” So, basically a mess is enough to feed your family or whoever you are cooking for. So, since we are growing green beans, we have been kind of jokingly measuring whether or not they were a mess. The night before I made the salad, Steve said he had picked a big mess. Yes, that is a typical use of the phrase. Translation: Enough to feed us with leftovers. So, he was snapping his beans for to cook and about two-thirds of the way through, he asked if I thought we had enough. And, suggested that we could save the rest. So, I looked, and what he had already snapped was easily a big mess by itself. Altogether, he easily had three messes. So, I decided to cook what he had already snapped and figure out something more creative with what was left. As it turns out, we are also over run with tomatoes. As in, there are twenty-one sitting on the counter after days of tomato sandwiches, sliced tomatoes with dinner every night, a tomato pie, and this salad. So, putting the two together was an obvious choice. It turned out wonderfully, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Green Bean Salad
- 5 cups green beans, snapped into bite sized pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced or used the little pre-packaged bite sized pieces
- 2 cups tomatoes, or more, sliced into wedges
- 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and cook just until bright green and crisp-tender.
- Drain beans.
- In a large bowl, toss beans with garlic, vinegar, and olive oil until well coated.
- Gently stir in mozzarella.
- Refrigerate until cold (about an hour).
- Just before serving stir in Parmesan, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.