Father’s Day is this weekend! What do you have planned? Picnics? A trip to the beach? Lounging poolside? Whatever it is, I’m betting food is involved. Dad food. You know, the kind of stuff that throws calorie-caution to the wind. Dad food is all about hedonistic flavor with none of that namby-pamby “voice of reason” whispered by Mom. Well, it’s his day after all, so this Tangy Green Bean Ciliegine Salad is amped up with all the things that Dad loves!
I’m using my Dad and my husband as the universal “Dad models” here. Both share a prickly disdain for mushy vegetables – so these green beans are anything but! Blanched in boiling water for just a few minutes before taking the vegetable version of the “ice bucket challenge.”
The rest of the vegetables are “peak of the season” fresh, including ripe tomatoes and a colorful blend of crunchy radishes. To amp up the “indulgence quota,” I’ve added balls of fresh mozzarella or ciliegine. They’re soft, creamy and definitely add to the “wow” factor in this salad.
And this may look like just another vinaigrette, but it’s got a secret ingredient too… Rendered bacon fat. Not a lot, but enough to lend that unmistakable smoky nuance. Whole grain pommery mustard adds tanginess and minced shallots straddle the line between garlic and onion. In other words, it ain’t Wish Bone Italian…
To finish the salad — BACON! Crumbled and tossed throughout every nook and cranny. This may be a side dish, but it won’t be overlooked!
This tangy salad is great on its own or as a side dish to grilled seafood, chicken or pork. Perfect for outdoor dining!
- 4 strips bacon thick cut
- 1 pound green beans or haricot verts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup tomatoes seeded cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup ciliegine small mozzarella packed in water, cut in half or 1 cup of diced fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup radishes assorted, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup shallot minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon fat rendered from cooking the bacon
- 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons parsley freshly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a medium frying pan, cook the bacon over medium to medium high heat until crispy, flipping several times. Transfer bacon to a small plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Crumble or chop the bacon. Set aside. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat for the dressing.
Create an ice bath in a large bowl (ice and water) and set aside. Bring a medium saucepan (about 6 cups) of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until crisp tender about 2-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the green beans to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. When the beans are cold, drain off the water and pat the beans dry with paper towels. Transfer the beans to a large bowl.
Add tomatoes, ciliegine and radishes to the green beans and toss to combine. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the shallot, rendered bacon fat, mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, black pepper and kosher salt. Whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the salad and use a pair of tongs to toss the salad in the dressing until completely coated. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.
Salad can be served chilled or at room temperature -- I prefer room temp, myself.