In the early season, I make this salad with fresh green beans and canned (or cooked) white beans; later on I use freshly harvested cranberry beans or other shell beans in place of the white beans if I have them. The double dose of lemon and a bodacious amount of herbs are the point here – this is a bright tasting salad that’s the perfect side for grilled steak or fish.

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic or ginger
  • Kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 cup mixed parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, oregano, or other tender herb leaves
  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves
  • 8 ounces young or thin green beans, trimmed and boiled just until tender (about 4 to 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup cranberry beans or other shell beans (cooked) or canned small white beans, well drained
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, core removed, very thinly sliced  
  • 2/3 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large or 2 small ears)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the maple syrup, the garlic or ginger, and a good pinch of salt.

2. Put the green beans, the cranberry beans or white beans, the sliced fennel, and the corn kernels in separate bowls. Drizzle a teaspoon or two of the dressing over each of the four vegetables, add a big pinch of salt, and toss.

3. On a serving platter, sprinkle some of the herbs and some of the arugula around the edges. Arrange a layer of green beans (about half) and top with some of the herbs and arugula. Sprinkle on a bit of salt. Scatter on about half of the cranberry beans, the fennel, and the corn kernels. Sprinkle again with a little salt. Top with more herbs and arugula. Arrange the remaining vegetables and herbs (reserving a few) in loose layers, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with the rest of the dressing. Top with the last of the herbs and a scattering of toasted nuts, if desired. 

Alternatively, you can put all of the vegetables and most of the herbs and arugula in a mixing bowl and toss with a bit of salt and the vinaigrette. Garnish with remaining herbs.