French Bean Salad

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My best friends Mum made this dish one night when I had dinner with her and it is something I have re created several times since as it is so delicious!  The combination of mustard, vinegar and capers is beautiful - a little bit tangy, sour and the crunch of the beans is a lovely texture.  I would say that this dish is best used as a side dish and not a main.  The perfect accompaniment to a BBQ meal, Sunday Roast or with some vegetable protein. This recipe is taken from a  Jamie Oliver cook book so a big thank you to him.  The original recipe does not include spinach, however, I have added some in for extra nutrients.

This recipe is gluten free, vegan, dairy free, nut free and sugar free so suitable for everyone.

Ingredients:

4 handfuls French beans, stalk ends removed 1 handful spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces 2-3 heaped teaspoons French mustard, to taste 2 tablespoons good-quality white wine vinegar 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil himalayan salt freshly ground black pepper 1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped 1 tablespoon capers, optional ½ clove garlic, finely grated

Method:

Bring a pan of water to a fast boil, add your beans, put a lid on the pan, and cook for at least 4 to 5 minutes. Boiling the beans fast like this helps them to retain all their nutrients. Meanwhile, put the mustard and vinegar into a bowl and, while stirring, add the olive oil to make a good hot French dressing. Season carefully with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the finely chopped shallot, the capers if you're using them and the garlic.

Remove one of the beans from the pan to check if it's cooked. If it holds its shape but is also soft to the bite, it's perfect. Drain in a colander. Now, while the beans are steaming hot, this is the perfect moment to dress them – a hot bean will take on more of the wonderful dressing than a cold one. Mix through the raw spinach and it will slowly wilt with the heat of the beans.  It is best to serve the beans warm, not cold, and certainly not at fridge temperature because the flavours will be muted and boring. Serve the beans in a bowl.

Jx