“Eat your greens!” Well, since current research in nutrition is telling us that greens are the key to vibrant health, I am always looking for interesting ways to eat them. One of my favourite restaurant dishes is zesty Szechuan Beans. I could literally make a meal of them. When I saw today’s recipe in Bon Appétit, July 2014, I just knew that I might have found a new fave! I was not let down! This recipe doesn’t have the firey bite of Szechuan beans, but I could still wolf down a whole plate at one sitting, inhaling the sweet earthy combination of coconut and peanuts and the peppery bite of watercress. This dish would make a wonderful accompaniment to any of your favourite proteins and especially the spicy ones. I am imagining it with some zingy buffalo wings and a crisp, cold glass of Pinot Gris. A couple of things to note here: don’t worry if you cannot find the Chinese long beans. I couldn’t find any in my local veggie markets, but some fresh green beans worked beautifully. Also, it’s really important to plunge the cooked greens into the ice-water. The vibrant green colour and crispness of the veggies cannot be achieved if you miss this step.
I am excited to bring a giant bowl of this Long Bean Salad over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. If you haven’t visited Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener, you really must! Every Friday for the past 34 weeks, Angie has been hosting the most happening, virtual blog party in the blogosphere! We feast, sip, laugh and enjoy each others’ company, as we share our latest and greatest discoveries. So here’s to Angie and her amazing co-hosts who have been keeping us happy now for so many weeks!
Long Bean and Watercress Salad with Peanuts and Coconut
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed, cut into 2 inch lengths, (about 5 cups)
¾ pound Chinese long beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves
or 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts, preferably unsalted
Place coconut in a small skillet and toast until golden. Remove to a plate to cool.
Meanwhile immerse watercress in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until just wilted, about 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander, and set in a large bowl of ice water. Drain, then gently squeeze out the excess water.
Return water in saucepan to a boil. Cook beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to ice water. Drain, then pat dry.
Whisk fish sauce, lime juice, and coconut sugar in a large bowl until sugar dissolves.
Add watercress, beans, onion, and kaffir lime leaves and toss to coat. Serve topped with coconut and peanuts.