Cooking Journal

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Shallot-y green bean and tomato salad

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen / Chez Panisse Vegetables

When I lived in San Francisco the first time (2012-2013), I found a copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables and kept it as my toilet reading (TMI for a food blog?) for a solid few months. Facing a never ending CSA box of vegetables I had never ever cooked in my life, it was a godsend. Since, I’ve relapsed into more Chinese cooking at home, but I thank both Eatwell Farms (best CSA / community farm ever) and that book for coaching me through eating seasonally.

I never made this salad then, though. I made this for the first time in NYC with Greenmarket (don’t ask me why they call it that in NYC and not a farmer’s market, I have no idea either) green beans and cherry tomatoes.

  • 1 pound green beans (or more)
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (or more, ‘cause you’re going to eat a whole pint on the way home from the market)
  • at least 4 shallots (more is fine)
  • 1 cup neutral high heat point oil

A day ahead, make some shallot oil with the shallots.

  • Slice shallots evenly and thinly (don’t dice)
  • Heat up your cup of oil and fry until the shallots crisp up and resemble what you’d put on top of green bean casserole. I usually fry in a wok, as it’s easier to control the frying. If some pieces fry quicker than others, move them to the edges of the wok where it’s cooler.
  • Carefully and quickly once you reach the brown point, remove the shallots to a paper towel’d plate and salt generously. Let cool so that they get crisp and delicious.
  • Once cool, strain resulting oil to remove any remaining debris. If you’re using all of the oil for the salad this step is less necessary, as you’ll use the oil before the debris turns the oil rancid. I like straining through a wire mesh tea filter, but cheesecloth / coffee filters work too.

Now for the salad!

  • Prep a bowl of ice water
  • Blanch your green beans: Bring a pot of salted water (tastes like the sea) to a boil, then add all green beans (ends snipped, etc.) This step takes maybe a minute or two, but I usually remove the green beans to some ice water once they’ve all turned a uniform bright green color.
  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half to expose their juicy innards. Place cut tomatoes on top of blanched green beans. Dress with 1/3 cup -> 1/2 cup shallot oil, a few tablespoons of sherry vinegar and some additional salt. Mix well so that the cut tomatoes juice out all over the salad. Add additional shallot oil / sherry vinegar to taste. Top with any fried shallots that you didn’t eat while making the shallot oil. Serve cold. Salad should be juicy, vinegary, shallot-forward.