This dish came together as a last-minute addition to a dinner that was looking rather thin and in need of another side. The larder was not well stocked, and I was loath to go to the grocery store in the late afternoon when it tends to be crowded.
I had a bag of string beans in the crisper that seemed like they might do the trick. Plain steamed string beans are kinda boring, but jazzed up with salted vinegared onions, well, that is another story.
We served them warm with pan-seared salmon and roasted sweet potatoes, but the leftover beans were great the following day as a chilled salad. This preparation — blanched vegetables tossed with salted and vinegared onions — would work with many different types of produce. I’m picturing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus … lots of possibilities.
String Bean Onion Vinaigrette
4 generous fistfuls of strings beans, stems removed
1 small onion, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vinegar (not balsamic)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Place the onion in a small colander with salt and shake to coat. Let it sit for a few minutes or a few hours (the longer they sit the softer and mellower they will get).
While the onions salt, blanch the beans: Place them in a medium-sized pan, covered in water with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Allow the beans to boil for about 3 minutes until they are bright green and crisp-tender. Drain them in a colander and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking. You can throw a couple of ice cubes on top of the beans and shake them up to cool them off quicker.
Rinse the onions well and place them in a small bowl, then add the vinegar, oil and pepper. Mix and then toss it over the cooled beans.