The title is the whole salad – minus the dressing. It’s that easy. Simplicity is deceptive in this instance because this salad is extremely good.
I know! Stop with the salads already! Rest assured, winter is slowly creeping up on Berlin. I am sure it will find a way of circumventing my beloved Autumn and then, when little L and I are going stir crazy between 4 walls. Then, there will be other things besides salads. Until then, enjoy the last throes of summer and salads.
Before I go committing culinary plagiarism, let me state that this is also a Melrose and Morgan salad. And a really successful one too. It could happily sit on a table for an hour or two without anything wilting or the dressing being sucked up by a parched fellow ingredient. And it’s four ingredients – the harmony and mutual amplification that these four display in this salad is medal worthy.
You’ve got the green beans which should still be vibrantly green and toothsome, if you hold it by one end it should not flop over! Then you have the slivers of red pepper which are sweet and soft. The Parmesan is salty and if you’ve got the good stuff, every now and then you will come upon one of those yummy Parmesan crystals. At this point you are pretty much in salad heaven. Until of course, you happen upon a roasted walnut and then… Well then we are talking salad Nirvana. Yep, it’s that good.
This is how you go about making this beauty:
Green bean, pepper, walnut and Parmesan salad (serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)
2 large bell peppers (the peppers in this shot are Romano and I used them because they were on offer. They are tasty but have less flesh than a regular red pepper so can be hard to peel)
500g green beans topped and tailed
100g walnuts roasted and skins rubbed of somewhat (don’t get frantic if some skin stays on)
50g of Parmesan (or to taste)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (salt really livens the flavour of this salad so don’t be stingy or try to save your kidneys on this one)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
2. Half the peppers, de-seed, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 min at 200°C or until the skins start to blister and turn black. Remove and place immediately in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic film (making sure to include any oil and juices in the pan). This will make them so much easier to peel. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and then into strips widthwise – the knife just moves easier when you orientate it this way.
3. Bring a large pot of seasoned water to the boil. Boil the green beans for around 3-5 minutes until cooked through but still firm and green. Drain and let cold water run over them in a bowl until they have cooled down (so they don’t go turning brown on you!).
4. Roast the walnuts for 5 minutes or so, when cool enough to handle, rub them together between the palms of your hands to get rid of some of the skin.
5. Make the dressing by whisking in the oil into the vinegar.
6. Toss the green beans, red pepper and dressing together. (If you are serving to guests, move to a new clean plate) Sprinkle the cheese and walnuts on top.