Some Like it Hot! Keep Things Cool & Enjoy Long, Slender Haricots Verts: Chilled Green Bean Salad with Feta…

Chilled Salad of Haricots Verts with Feta – Photo â“’ 2010 Michaela Medina

The Long, Hot Summer. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Some Like It Hot. I don’t know about you but I just love a sultry summer, and we are sure getting one this year in the Northeast. Summertime humidity… It makes your hair curl and your skin glow, and dapples your water glass with beads of condensation. I think it’s kinda sexy. Of course, not everyone agrees with me, and plenty of my friends are getting fed up with the heat.

So what do you do when you’re feeling wilted by the mid-day sun, dabbing away at your dewy brow and glistening collar bones? Well lately, my answer is to get daily chores out of the way early and to avoid a hot kitchen like the plague. When I have a little extra time, I like to prepare cool salads and sun tea (lemon-mint is my favorite) in the morning, so that I can enjoy a languid lunch in the hammock or a slow dinner on the terrace later. Chilled summer salads are particularly wonderful when it gets this hot. Cucumber, tomato, arugula, pea and pasta; why the combinations are almost limitless in high summer. But at the moment, my favorite just happens to be a cool salad of haricots verts and feta…

Haricots Verts – French Style, Slender Green Beans- Photo â“’  2010 Michaela at TGE

Haricots verts —or French-style filet beans— are slender, beautifully green and very flavorful. All beans should be picked frequently in mid-summer —daily when hot— to insure a steady crop. Unpicked beans will stop producing if allowed to go to seed. When the mercury rises, I think it’s best to pick beans very early in the morning, to enjoy later in the day. Summer savory, which is believed to improve the growth of bush beans and deter beetles, is a fantastic companion plant for haricots verts. Soil enriched with well rotted compost and regular foliar feeding (applying liquid fertilizer to leaves in a spray or shower) with Neptune’s Harvest or fish emulsion will help to provide a beautiful, tasty crop. Always wash beans thoroughly when harvesting, especially after applying fish emulsion or any fertilizer. I like to freeze bags of haricots verts to enjoy in wintertime, but I also love them steamed, sauteed, served in soup —and of course— in chilled salads…

Freshly Harvested Basket of Haricots Verts in my Garden – Photo â“’ 2010 Michaela at TGE

Chilled Salad of Haricots Verts with Feta – Photo â“’ 2010 Michaela at TGE

Chilled Salad of Haricots Verts with Feta

Ingredients – Serves 6:

1           Pound of freshly haricots verts (filet beans) end stems trimmed

1           Large red onion chopped coarsely

1           Clove garlic minced

5           Tbs fresh chopped cilantro (more or less to taste)

2           Tsp fresh chopped oregano

4           Red or pink radishes sliced thin (other colors may be used, the red is a nice contrast)

1           Pint sungold or other cherry tomatoes cut into quarters or 2 heirloom yellow and/or red tomatoes cut into small wedges

6          Ounces freshly crumbled feta

4          Tbs fruity red wine vinegar or raspberry/red wine vinegar

6          Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Pour an inch or two of water into a pot with steamer. Bring the water to a boil. Place beans in a steamer (or colander) above the boiling water. Cover and steam for approximately 7 minutes. Check frequently and remove from the heat when just tender (the texture of fresh beans is ruined when overcooked). Rinse the beans in cool water and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar.

Transfer the beans into a large bowl.  Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, oregano, radishes and crumbled feta. Add in fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste.  Add the vinegar and oil and toss.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

For a a pretty, colorful presentation, arrange the salad on a large platter and top with red and orange tomatoes and a bit of cilantro. You can also simply toss everything together and serve on individual plates or bowls.


French-style filet beans, or haricots verts, as they are commonly known – Photo â“’ 2010 Michaela at TGE

Of course, when it comes to loving summer, a little, steamy, celluloid-inspiration can’t hurt…

The Long, Hot Summer

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Some Like It Hot

Article and photographs © 2010 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

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9 Replies to “Some Like it Hot! Keep Things Cool & Enjoy Long, Slender Haricots Verts: Chilled Green Bean Salad with Feta…”

  1. Lynda S

    Your recipes are extra nice and I would like a “printer friendly” link to be able to save them. Is this possible?

    Loving my garden this summer and your hard work here to help me along!


  2. lulu

    yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmy! i’m so hungry for latelunch and that just looks scrumptious. It’s sounds particularly inviting eaten on your hammock!
    my fav hot day activities are dipping in the pond at lunch time!
    stay cool or be hot!

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hi Michaela, This post (with comments) has all of my favourite things about summer… Rinsing the heat out of your bones immersed in the local swimmin’ hole, swinging the heat of the day away in the cool, green shade, no cook/low cook meals of garden-fresh harvest requiring only the barbeque and/or its side burner, eaten al fresco. Absolute heaven!
    And thank you Lynda & Michaela! Now we can all make our own “Coffee Table Book” with Michaela’s wonderful recipes and fantastic photos. xo D.

  4. Charlene

    Michaela, this sounds really good. The bush beans are quite prolific and the pole beans will be ready in days. What was I thinking? A couple other really good uses for fresh green beans are Elise’s Mexican Green Bean Salad over at Simply Recipes and David Lebovitz’ Soupe au Pistou. Yeah, soup in this heat? It is SO good. Used zucchini in it as well, even a few pods of okra.

    Just picked my first tomato this morning! Hey, where’d you get that basket?

  5. Michaela

    @Charlene, thank you for the recipe tips. I love Elise and David’s blogs and I will go check out their green bean recipes pronto. As for the wire basket, it came from the sadly-now-closed Smith and Hawken. But I encourage you to look for these French Wire Baskets online. They are a common commodity in Europe and thankfully a growing, reusable trend here in the States. xo M

    @Deb, I have to work out a way to just print the recipe… but I am something of a tech-flunk-out. Hopefully my friend Tim the computer genius will help me figure it out.

    @Lu-lu – I try to stay hot by keeping cool. ;)

  6. Charlene

    Thanks for trying to help me find a basket, Michaela! I saw that one too. I think beans and such would tend to slip out those holes too easily though. Perhaps I’ll get lucky and find one at the antique malls this winter.

    I made this salad for dinner tonight. We all enjoyed it. It has a fresh, clean taste. I bet it will be even better the longer the flavors can marry, like tomorrow for lunch! The only changes I made were to use my Blue Lakes and I used dried Greek oregano. Well, I did blanch the beans instead of steaming them but I don’t think that would affect the taste much. Thanks for a great recipe! I will be making it again, for sure.

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