“I’m putting away my winter wardrobe,” Meredith says this sunny morning.
About time–it’s the first of June!
Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out—my Mother liked to quote.
(I’ve read that the MAY in question refers to the blossom of the May Tree which would keep the month of May still merry!)
In France–further south–they say:
En Avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil—mais en Mai, fais comme il te plaît!
[April’s not to be trusted so don’t take off a thread ; in May though, do as you please!]
Anyway it was a relief to see the stalls of the organic market in Castres featuring spring vegetables yesterday–at last. The very cold spell in March followed by a very wet spell has skewed the timing and made life difficult for local producers.
I need a starter for the guests tonight and the small pile of silky green beans I bought will make a perfect prologue to the tangy chicken tagine to follow.
In summer some ripe cherry tomatoes briefly sautéed in garlic and olive oil then squidged in among the beans makes a colorful and tasty first course– but it’s too early for them. The anchovy sauce alternative is a risk as some people cannot abide anchovies!
So I looked for another idea in The River Café’s Pocket Vegetable Book and found a mustard sauce.
We had a trial for lunch–and both agreed it was a shame to mask the taste of the first green beans of the season with anything but salt and a splash of good olive oil!
Here’s the sauce, though– just in case…
1 lb fresh green beans
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon parsley–chopped
4 fl oz/125 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
- Make the sauce by whisking the mustard in the lemon juice and vinegar and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add the olive oil in the manner of making mayonnaise–slowly whisking it into the mix.
- Cook the beans in boiling well salted water until they are just tender.
- Put them in a serving bowl and fold in the sauce.
- Sprinkle over the parsley.