Summer seems like it is finally making its way to our shores, at long last and i just love making delicious but filling salad that makes a great meal in itself or a perfect accompaniment for grilled meat and fish.
I took a little inspiration from one of my favourite holiday salads, the Nicoise, but tuna and eggs aren't for everyone so my fantastic vegetarian version is an all round crowd-pleasing dish with lots of different flavours and plenty of bite! The best part of the whole thing is that it really doesn't take a hell of a lot of skill to put this great recipe together, it is more of an assembly job than anything else and of course, as with most of my recipes, you can adapt it by substituting ingredients to suit your own tastes too.
Mediterranean Green Bean Salad
2 x 200g packs of uncooked green beans
2 x 240g of Sunblush tomatoes in oil (The oil is important for the dressing!)
400g of capers (retaining their brine for dressing)
400g of Kalamata olives
1kg of baby new potatoes, halved (or any other small potatoes)
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with some oven paper and add in your halved baby new potatoes and drizzle over some olive oil, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a generous amount of Maldon sea salt and then mix with your hands, ensuring each potato is coasted in oil and seasoning. Then speread them all out and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Once done, remove from oven set aside.
Bring a pot of cold water to the boil and add your green beans to the pan and boil per the packet instructions or until you get your desired texture. Dont overcook them, as no one likes mushy green beans! It is good to keep a little crunch in them so they add another texture to the salad when eating it. Once cooked, drain them and plunge the beans in cold water with a cold tap running over them to stop them from cooking, then set aside.
Using the largest bowl you have, pour in the Sunblush tomatoes and oil from both packs of your tomatoes and add in the brine and capers from one of your caper jars but just the capers from the second jar. Add in your olives at this stage and mix all the ingredients really well before adding your potatoes whilst hot into the bowl. When warm, potatoes will absorb the dressing nicely and really give you flavour in each bite. Stir the ingredients well and allow everything to cool.
Once cooled, add in your green beans, chopped dill and give the mixture a good stir. I like to use my hands for this process to lift all the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and really make sure they get an even coating of dressing. That's it folks, the salads are done! I would recommend you serve this with a nice grilled tuna steak, roast chicken or just by itself! However you eat it, you will enjoy it!