Serves 7-8 people
1lb green beans (ends trimmed), cut into 1 in segments (about 4 cups cooked)
10oz dry cannellini beans (or in a pinch use 3 cans beans) (4 cups cooked)
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 green onions
thai basil, one bunch
1 pint sun gold tomatoes
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chili crisp (I use the classic lao ma gan brand; you can also use a smaller amount of chili oil)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
The night before, soak your dry beans in a pot with cold water (the water should cover the beans by 3 in). The next day, heavily salt the same water to make it taste like broth. Add whatever aromatics you have on hand (onions, garlic, celery, herbs like parsley, carrots, shallots). I put in 1 halved onion, crushed garlic cloves and green onions. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil on top. Bring the beans to a boil and then turn down the heat to barely simmer. Cook until tender, creamy but not falling apart about 40-60 min (depends on the freshness and size of your bean). Drain the beans but keep that flavorful bean liquid for a soup or another use.
Blanch the green beans in salted water (or use the bean liquid) for 2-3 minutes until tender. Lay out on a sheet pan to cool. Shocking in ice water does preserve the color but also waters down the flavor.
Mix the dressing by combining the rice wine vinegar, chili crisp, sugar, salt, and sesame oil. Taste it. It should be vinegary, spicy and salty.
Combine the salad by mixing the cooked and cooled green and cannellini beans with the dressing. Start with 3/4 of the dressing and add more as needed. The beans should be seasoned well so they won’t need a ton more salt. Add the tomatoes and thai basil. Toss and taste again. Serve chilled or at room temp as a tasty, addictive side.
This salad is fun to combine fresh green beans with shell beans. They provide contrasting textures. This is more of a method and of less a strict recipe. Use whatever kind of beans you can find. I used chinese long beans because they looked good at the farmers market. The basic idea is to find some kind of green bean and some kind of shelling bean (fresh or dry or even canned). Roughly use about half of each kind. Throw in some herbs (Italian basil, mint, green onions, cilantro will all work) and tomatoes. The dressing provides acidity and some spiciness to make the beans pop. Chili crisp is a chinese chile oil cooked with aromatics; it will quickly become your favorite thing to put on everything you eat.