Many summers ago, I was at a barbecue where one guest accused another of having stolen a recipe for green bean salad. I was quick to put an end to the conversation. Few recipes are 100 percent original, and the pairing of green beans and feta is hardly unusual.
The match is a natural, so naturally there are many versions of this salad. I've tried to perfect mine by using only the zest of the lemon, so the beans don't discolor; by adding chopped sweet onions to keep that ingredient from biting; and by choosing dill, which goes nicely with the feta.
I've also learned that less is more: It takes only a small hunk of feta, nicely crumbled, to flavor the beans. I like to use a mild feta so as not to overwhelm the rest of the salad components.
If your recipe's a lot like mine, I'm not going to fight about it. I'll just consider you a cook with good taste.
Make Ahead: The salad may be assembled and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance.
- 1 tablespoon salt, for the cooking water
- 1 pound green beans (ends trimmed), cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch long pieces
- 2 ounces good-quality feta cheese, crumbled
- Fronds from 2 stems dill, chopped (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into small dice, such as Vidalia (1/2 cup)
- Grated zest of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Have ready a large bowl of ice water.
Bring a 4-quart pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and the beans; cook for about 6 minutes, until the beans are tender. Immediately transfer them to the ice-water bath. Let the beans cool for 5 minutes, then use clean dish towels to drain and dry the beans.
Transfer the beans to a large bowl; add the feta, dill, onion, lemon zest, oil and pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Allow the salad to come to room temperature before serving.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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