Late-summer green salad
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 6
- 6 spring onions , trimmed
- 140g runner beans
- 3 x 2cm-thick slices olive bread , cut into 2cm-square dice
- 5 tbsp olive oil , for frying
- 2 knobs butter
- 2 medium courgettes
- 1 large green pepper , deseeded and thinly sliced
- handful basil leaves
- 85g baby spinach leaves, washed, trimmed from stems
- parmesan shavings
For the dressing
- 1 large shallot , finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove , crushed
- 9 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red peppers , deseeded and cut into 5mm dice
- 1 bay leaf
- sprig of thyme
- ¼ tsp caster sugar
- STEP 1
For the dressing, lightly cook the shallot and garlic in 4 tbsp of the olive oil, without allowing them to colour. Add the red peppers, bay leaf and thyme and gently simmer for a further 5 mins until the peppers have softened. remove from the heat, stir in the sugar with the remaining 5 tbsp oil and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to infuse until needed.
- STEP 2
Finely shred and chill the spring onions. Slice the runner beans into long, thin strips. cook the beans briefly in boiling salted water until just softened. drain and cool. Fry the bread in 4 tbsp of oil until lightly golden and crispy, add a knob of butter and toss. drain on kitchen paper and season well. Can be done up to 2 hrs ahead. Peel courgettes into long strips.
- STEP 3
Just before assembling (if serving warm), heat a frying pan with the remaining tbsp olive oil and knob of butter. Briefly stir-fry the green peppers until beginning to soften. Add the beans, toss to warm through, tip out into a bowl and season. If serving cold, this can be done up to 1 hr ahead.
- STEP 4
Now finish it in style. Arrange some of the veg over a large platter. Scatter the courgettes, spring onions, basil leaves, baby spinach and bread croûtons in a casual arrangement over and among the vegetables, along with the remaining veg. Spoon enough of the dressing across the top to moisten, then finish with parmesan shavings. Serve any extra dressing separately.