Farmstand Finds

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Summer salads are always welcome for lunch or as part of a buffet dinner party.

At a little farm stand this past week I found just picked Italian flat beans and regular string beans along with red onion, tomatoes and herbs. Each vegetable could stand on its own very well, but when they were combined to create a green bean salad, the result was marvelous.

Bon appétit!

Fresh Green Bean Salad(Serves 10 to 12)2 pounds green beans

1 pound flat Italian green beans

1 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

Extra virgin olive oil for, drizzling

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh spearmint

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the tomato vinaigrette:

4 ripe medium tomatoes, skins discarded, seeded and grated

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons white balsamic

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Plum tomatoes and whole Kalamata olives, for garnishTo prepare:In a large pot of boiling water, add green beans a handful at a time and blanch until crunch tender.

Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the beans into ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Drain well.

Repeat the process with the Italian beans, adding them a handful at a time.

Trim stem ends from the beans and cut into 1-inch lengths.

Place in a large bowl.

Add olives, onion, basil and mint and toss lightly along with just enough olive oil to coat the beans.

Season beans with salt and pepper and cover with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate if preparing ahead.

Meanwhile, using a small grater or mini chop, grate the tomatoes into a small bowl to catch their juices.

Add garlic and vinegars.

Slowly whisk in olive oil.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Dress the beans with vinaigrette at least 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Mix well and let stand at room temperature.

Transfer to serving bowl and garnish.Fresh Lobster SaladAdapted from Carol Fletcher.

(Serves 6)Large pot of cold water

2 tablespoons sea salt

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 to 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

5 parsley stems

1 tablespoon pickling spices, wrapped in cheesecloth

2 to 3 pounds frozen lobster tails in the shells

4 stalks celery, chopped leaves reserved for garnish

1 to 1½ tablespoons celery seed

Juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 bunch fresh chives, snipped

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh spearmint, to taste

Optional:

1 medium red onion, minced

1 to 3 tablespoons capers, drainedTo prepare:Add salt, onion, celery, carrots, parsley stems and pickling spices to a large pot of boiling water.

Bring the water back to a boil and add frozen lobster tails.

Cook until the shells turn pink and the flesh turns from translucent to opaque. Cooking time depends on the size of the tails.

Drain and rinse under cold water.

Cut the lobster into bite-sized pieces and chill about 30 minutes.

Add celery, red onion if using, celery seeds, lemon juice, and salt and pepper and toss.

Stir in just enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the lobster meat.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Cover well and refrigerate overnight.

Stir in mint, chives and capers, if using, about 2 hours before serving.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a bowl or platter, garnish with celery leaves and serve at once.

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