Monday, December 31, 2012

Bean salad with feta cheese

Last night, The Boy decided that I would make dinner instead of him and it's still horribly hot here ... I expect it will continue to be horribly hot since it is Summer, but I decided on a bean salad.

When I told The Boy about it, his reply was that he was not keen on it since he wasn't crazy about a dish full of French (green) beans. I told him that it was just too bad because I had bought all the ingredients and he had to eat it anyway, plus the fact that he was the one who tagged the recipe in the cookbook anyway. Really, he didn't put up too much of a protest and he's very good at eating whatever I place in front of him.

This recipe is from my "Mmmm ... Salads" cookbook, which is part of the LOVE FOOD imprint by Parragon Books UK which has done a series of cookbooks for salads, pasta, fish, etc. I tried to find this book online but have not been able to do so. I bought it from a local discount bookstore that buys up big lots of out of print or excess stock books and sells them at a low price.

Here's a RECIPE for this delicious salad:

  • 350g French (green) beans trimmed
  • 1 Spanish (red) onion, diced
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 75g feta cheese, drained and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or fruit vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and halve.
  • Transfer the beans to a bowl and add the onion, coriander, radishes and cheese.
  • Sprinkle the oregano over the salad, then grind pepper over to taste. Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together and pour over the salad. Toss gently to mix well.
  • Transfer to a serving platter, add the tomato wedges and serve at once or chill until ready to serve.

Once again, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, this time though, due to some shopping and grocery store restrictions. We went to get our groceries on Christmas Eve before the grocery stores shut for two days over Christmas and Boxing Day and a lot of the product had been picked over. We managed most of the ingredients but could not find a few of them.

To start, instead of leaving the green beans long and then halving them, I trimmed the green beans and then cut them into 1 or 1.5 inch lengths depending on the size of the green bean. I bought about 3 large handfuls of green beans but I don't know what weight that was since the store didn't have a scale for me to weigh the beans in.

I couldn't find any fresh coriander from the store because they were completely out of herbs (and really, it was our fault because we didn't get to the store till late afternoon as we were waiting on a delivery). Instead, I used the Gourmet Garden Coriander paste which came in a tube.

I didn't use any radishes because The Boy doesn't like radishes and also because there were none to be had at the grocery store. When we came across radishes at another fruit and vegetable specialty store a few days later, they sold them in bunches of 6 and I had no use for the remaining 4 radishes, plus they wouldn't just sell me 2 radishes, and The Boy once again reiterated that he did not like radishes. So, no radishes were harmed in the making of this salad. ;-p

With the feta cheese, I used the Coles brand Australian Feta Cheese which is pretty hard and doesn't crumble well, so I broke a 200g package into half which ended up more like 2/3 and 1/3 since it didn't break evenly in half and I used the larger piece. I just cut those into small pieces.

For tomatoes, I used the Perino - Sweet Snacking Tomatoes which are like grape tomatoes just because that is what I had in the fridge. I used just a little over a half a punnet of it and instead of adding it at the end, I included them into the bowl and mixed the dressing through it as well.

I cooked the beans, keeping them only lightly cooked and crunchy by steaming them for about 3 minutes rather than boiling them and then putting them into ice cold water to stop them from continuing to cook.

After cutting up all the other ingredients, I put the beans, onion, feta cheese and tomato into large bowl. I also had a piece of cooked chicken breast leftover from another meal and I cut them into small pieces and included that into the mix.

I then mixed up the dressing in a glass jar, which included the coriander paste, olive oil, dried oregano, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar. I then closed the lid of the jar and shook the jar vigorously to mix up the dressing which I then poured over the salad in the bowl.

Once the dressing was poured into the bowl, I mixed it through the salad thoroughly and then the salad was ready for serving.

The salt and pepper was to taste, so just use the amount that is suitable for you. Something to note though, since the feta cheese has salt in it already, there's no need for a lot of salt.

This is an extremely tasty and hearty salad and served a generous portion meal for the both of us.

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