The last thing we want to eat when the temperatures and the mercury are rising are heavy foods. We want to eat as many cool dishes as possible. This means a lot of different kinds of salads, both as side dishes and as main meals. Tonight we are having a cool green bean Caesar salad. It is a new twist to an old classic. I am serving this along with a cool potato salad (just a regular mustard/miracle whip version with hard boiled eggs today) and some spicy sausage rolls, or Saichichin del Diablo, a recipe from a friend of mine. Add a good cold beer or a light, crisp white wine, and you will be chilling down and relaxig from the sweltering heat of the day.
Cool Green Bean Caesar Salad
1 1/2 lbs green beans, remove the stems and cook
2 oz. shaved Parmegiano cheese
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut in 1/2
Place the stemmed green beans in boiling water and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are mostly tender, with just a slight crunch still left to them. Once they are cooked, drain them and set aside to let cool. Once cooled, cut them into 1″ pieces and toss everything together with as much dressing as you need to coat the beans, but like a regular Caesar salad, you do not want too much dressing. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, especially dressings on salads. You want it coated and nice and flavorful, but you no don’t want your salad swimming in dressing either.
All you need to make your salad. Shave the Parmigiano cheese nice and thin with a vegetable peeler.
Cool Caesar Dressing
3 TBSP olive oil
black pepper to taste
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
I had some leftover pepita dressing I had made earlier and added about 2-3 TBSP of that as well. Mix everything together and toss in as needed with your green bean mixture.
Making the Croutons
To make the croutons, take some crusty bread and cube into your desired size. Cut the bread with a serrated bread knife. Toss the bread cubes with olive oil and black pepper and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Toss the bread cubes and rotate the pan after about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once they are cooled, toss in with your salad mixture, or just add to the top of your salad. You can use any kind of bread and/or seasoning you would like to make your croutons. I used a rustic garlic pugliese loaf that was a few days old; just perfect for making croutons. Store bought croutons are fine well too.
Enjoy and stay cool!