I had some French beans delivered this week that were grown on a nearby allotment.
I was told the names of the three different varieties by Owen the grower and we decided the best-named were Ferrari. It’s the closest I’ll get to owning a Ferrari.
These apparently have a high yield and produce long straight, stringless beans that have great flavour. In the pot they remained a vibrant green and on tasting were crisp with a lovely flavour, much better than those imported beans from Kenya. Green beans make a great side vegetable for your Sunday roast, but I love them cold in salads.
So here’s a recipe for salade niçoise normally served with fresh tuna served rare. I have used air-dried tuna but you could use sea bream, mackerel or hake as alternatives.
This dish makes me think of the Mediterranean with the black olives, anchovies and tomatoes. You could almost picture yourself on a yacht, anchored in a small bay with blue water around you, a long way away from the allotment and bean-picking.
Ingredients (serves four)
350g green beans
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
80ml olive oil
Dessertspoon balsamic vinegar
6 quails’ eggs
8 cherry tomatoes
80g dried tuna or alternative fish
16 black olives
1. Cook the quails’ eggs for two minutes, chill and peel them.
2. Crush the garlic and anchovies in a pestle and mortar.
3. Drizzle in the olive oil and the vinegar.
4. Cook the beans in salted water and refresh.
5. Cut the cherry tomatoes and quails’ eggs in half.
6. Slice the tuna very thinly or grill your alternative fish.
7. Mix all the ingredients and arrange on plates.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk). Call 01243 377914.