Soups & Salads/

Tomato, Grilled Beet and Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pumpkinseed Dressing

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One of my new favorite books is Ruhlman’s Twenty by Michael Ruhlman in which he eloquently describes how important it is to salt the water for proper blanching of vegetables. Adding ¾ of a cup of salt to 3 quarts of water may sound overly salty, but I promise you’ll appreciate the bright color and crispness of your blanched and shocked vegetables. Think of the water tasting like sea water, and you’ll get the idea
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Ingredients

  • 1bunch (about 1 pound) baby beets, green leaves and stems removed
  • 1/2pound green beans, tops trimmed
  • 1large tomato, cored, sliced into ¼” wedges
  • 3tablespoonspepitas, hulled, untoasted
  • 1/3cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3cup olive oil, plus extra for grilling
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Fresh hot green chiles to taste (I like 1 large serrano or 1 small jalapeno), stemmed (optional)
  • 1tablespoon honey
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/2cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh mint, thinly sliced

Instructions

Turn on a gas grill to medium or light a charcoal grill and let the coals burn until medium-hot and covered with white ash. In a large (4-quart) saucepan, bring 3 quarts of heavily salted water (I like about ¾ of a cup of kosher salt with this amount of water) to a rolling boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice, add water and set aside.

Cook the green beans in the boiling water first—removing them to the ice bath with a slotted spoon when they are bright green and still “al dente,” 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the beans.

After your water returns to a full boil, add your beets to the pot. Cook until softened through— 6 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the beets to the ice bath. Allow vegetables to cool completely in ice bath. Remove the beans to a plate lined with paper towels. Peel and cut the beets into 1/8” wedges.

Toss the green beans and beets in a small amount of oil; grill until splotchy black in places—about 4 to 5 minutes for the green beans, and 8 to 10 minutes for the beets. Remove and season with salt.

Pour the pumpkinseeds into a small skillet and set over medium heat. When the first one pops, stir constantly until all have popped from flat to round, about 5 minutes. Scoop into a blender jar and add the lime juice.

Return the skillet to medium heat and measure in the oil. Add the garlic and optional chile. Cook, stirring regularly, until the garlic is soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Scrape the oil, garlic and chile into the blender. Add the honey and salt. Process until smooth. Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary. (Remember: it should be highly seasoned)

Combine the beets, green beans and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl—toss with a liberal amount of the dressing. Mound in a serving bowl. Drizzle with additional dressing if desired. Sprinkle with blue cheese and mint. Serve immediately.

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