I planted three rows of yellow string beans, each row about four, maybe four and a half feet long. So we’re not talking a huge plantation of beans here. But I’ve already gotten at least 4-5 pounds of beans from this little patch, and more are on the way. It’s a crazy surfeit of beans! This is my first year growing them, and I already plan to grow them again next year. They’re really an excellent return on investment, especially given how quickly they’ve grown from seed to harvest.
I’ve been using the beans mostly in salads, like the one above right, where I blanch them in boiling water, shock them in ice water, and then drizzle a vinaigrette over the drained beans. I think olives and herbs make a nice accompaniment for a string bean salad.
To go a little more upscale, though, I did make an absolutely mind-blowing Salade Niçoise, using some extremely fine (and deliciously fatty) canned tuna from a cannery back home in Washington. In addition to the usual olives and capers and boiled egg, I used my own beans, salad greens, tomatoes, and wee little potatoes.
I wish I could convey how well all these flavors work together. Those French, man. Good stuff. Of course, another great way to serve up your extra string beans is simply to boil them for a few minutes and then serve them with a big pat of butter on top. Fabulous and simple. I made beans this way, along with a bunch of home-grown garlicky kale, the day after I had gone river tubing and eaten nothing but fried chicken and beer all day. A big plate of simple veggies really hit the spot.
I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gotten a chance to make pickled beans, but that’s definitely the plan if the supply keeps up.