Every year, I am amazed that a summer can slip by so quickly.
All those lake swims, melty ice cream cones and dinners from the grill blur into a distant memory of sun-warmed skin and long, long days.
I'm writing you this week from Paris, where summer is stretching very lazily into fall. The days have been golden and warm; the blue skies dotted with only a handful of pleasantly fluffy clouds. But the leaves of the chestnut trees are falling. There's a morning chill that calls forth sweaters and jackets (and even a hat or two). There are perfect, squat little pumpkins at the market waiting to be taken home and roasted.
I'm not going to lie--I love fall. But I'm not ready to let go of summer just yet. Which is why I have a recipe for you this week featuring some of my favorite late-summer produce.
Before I jumped on a plane for Paris, my friend Liz Pachaud and I teamed up for an end-of-season pop-up supper under the trees in my back yard. Liz made a life-changing pasta dish involving smoked corn, charred zucchini, and tomato confit. She also made an olive oil semolina cake I'm hoping to score a recipe for. (I'll keep you posted.) I contributed a ricotta toast with honeycomb, hazelnuts, mint and black pepper. And this green bean and peach salad with pine nuts and herbs.
This salad is at once straight-forward and unexpected. It's bright and earthy and, one of my favorite traits in a salad, easy to toss together.
It's a perfect farewell to all the ripeness and sunshine of summer days.
Green Beans with Peaches, Pine Nuts and Herbs
- 1 lb tender green beans, stemmed
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced into very thin rounds
- 2 large, firm-ripe peaches
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallot
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 serrano chile (or to taste), very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped or torn mixed herbs (I used basil, parsley, tarragon and mint)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil. While the water is heating, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Fill another small bowl with ice and water and place the sliced onion in it (this step is optional, but it helps take some of the bite out of the raw onions).
When the water comes to the boil, add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender. (The precise time will vary depending on the size of your beans.) Remove the beans from the water with tongs or a slotted spoons and transfer to the large ice bath. When the beans are completely cooled, remove them from the ice bath and lay them out on a a kitchen towel to dry.
While the beans are cooling, pit and slice the peaches about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the onion from the ice water an pat dry.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the lime juice, vinegar, shallot and a generous pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add the serrano; taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
To assemble the salad, combine the green beans, peaches and half the herbs in a large bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette to taste. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the rest of the herbs and the toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings.