I made this vibrantly colourful and delicious salad for staff lunch today to go along side some couscous and lime steamed fish. It proved extremely popular and as it is so pretty to look at as well, I thought I would share the secret of our humble repast.
A quick word on the ingredients first. Chabichou is a type of goats cheese; cylindrical in shape, with a semi-hard texture. It is richly creamy and very moreish. Importantly as well, it crumbles easily, which is central to the final result. If you can't get this cheese, try any firm, matured goats cheese, or even feta cheese.
Roman beans are also known as Italian flat beans. They are much longer than regular green beans; around 20 cm long, and are flat rather than round. They are crunchy and sweet, but once again - if unavailable - just use green beans.
The most important thing to remember with this dish is the quality of the tomatoes. If you can't get great quality, ripe red tomatoes, try another dish.
You could use this salad to accompany all manner of fish and poultry dishes - or even as a light vegetarian lunch with some good crusty bread to mop up the tasty juices.
3 juicy ripe tomatoes
6 Roman beans (flat beans)
1/4 cup sliced green onions (scallions), green tops only
50 gm chabichou (or other cheese), crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Serves 2 as a light lunch or 4 as a side dish.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Slice the beans into short (1 cm) lengths. Add to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes - no more. Drain the beans and run them under cold water to stop them cooking and set the vibrant green colour.
Slice the tomatoes into thin rounds and lay out onto a large plate in an attractive overlapping pattern. Scatter over the beans and scallions, then some salt. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top, and then drizzle the lemon juice over.
Scatter the goats cheese on top, then season with the pepper and a final lug of olive oil. Eat straight away.