Finally, I got a measurable harvest from my tiny, shady, deer-ridden little vegetable patch. This year's success came from the Italian heirloom pole bean aptly named 'Trionfo Violetto' that I bought from Silver Heights Nursery. Not only does this variety sport beautiful lilac flowers and dark purple pods, it is absolutely delicious. After a few weeks away, some of the beans had grown too large and stringy to eat so I shelled those and added them to the younger ones to make a bean salad with toasted almonds (my recipe below, which we had with grilled trout). I highly recommend this prolific bean. My only regret is that the purple pods don't hold their unusual dusky violet color once they're cooked.
Green Bean Salad with Roasted Almonds
1 lb green beans (approx)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup unsalted raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Lemon zest from one lemon
Wash and trim tops from the green beans and set aside. Shell any pods that are old or tough and enjoy the tender beans inside. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.
Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, then the almonds and cook until the almonds brown. Don't let the garlic get too dark and remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest.
Once the saucepan water is boiling, blanch the green beans by cooking them for less than 5 minutes. Once they are bright green but still crunchy, drain them and rinse them quickly with cold tap water, drain again.
Toss the beans with the almonds, chopped herbs and serve warm or at room temperature.