Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: Simple Summer Supper

Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

I love the simple pleasures of summer: hot sunshine, cool breezes, a chilled glass of wine, a dinner of salad and something from the grill.

During green bean season, one of our favorite salads is what I've named "Scaletta Green Bean Salad".

Scaletta Ristorante in New York City has long been a part of my family's New York celebrations. It's near my mother's apartment, and the Croatian owners, Freddy and Omer, are two of the loveliest men you'd ever want to meet. Freddy was a former football (soccer) pro, and the pictures of him in his glory days are quite something. Omer is the wonderfully talented chef.

My parents started going to Scaletta when my father was still alive. He was already quite sick with cancer at that time, and he could be quite fussy about things like lighting and temperature. Everyone at Scaletta treated him like gold, and they've done the same for my mother ever since. She can not have a dinner there without being offered an after-dinner drink on the house. She knows all the servers and they greet her warmly. They manage to know all our preferences. We held Mom's 80th birthday party there. Their Lasagne Bolognese Al Forno brings lasagna to a whole new level.

You won't see the green bean salad on the menu. It is apparently an occasional special, but somehow whenever we go in, all we need to do is ask and somehow, they have it.

I won't even pretend to say that I've imitated Omer's recipe fully, but I guess this is my homage to my favorite place to eat in all of New York. So I present to you:

Scaletta Green Bean Salad

3 cups green beans
1/3 medium red onion, sliced thin
3/4 cup red, ripe tomatoes chopped
1 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup canned cannelini beans, rinsed
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Snap and steam green beans until tender, but not overcooked. Rinse them in cold water to stop cooking.
2. While beans are steaming, rinse cannelini beans, slice the onions and chop the tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella into 1/4" cubes.
3. Toss everything together. Sprinkle the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well. Adjust the seasonings.
4. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
This salad is even better the second day.

Number of Servings: 6

Nutritional Info
Fat: 3.3g
Carbohydrates: 10.9g
Protein: 3.7g
Nutrition information supplied by Sparkrecipes.com.

So what did we have for our simple summer supper? I made a batch of this lovely salad, and then threw some chicken in a bag with the rest of the red onion, cut into chunks, a few sprigs of rosemary from my balcony, 1 TBS olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon and left it to marinate.

At supper time, I lit the grill, took a baguette and brushed some olive oil and a garlic spice blend on it, wrapped it in foil, threw the chicken on the grill and halfway through, had the bread join it.

The results are below. Easy peasy.


glamah16 said...

Where those long beans you used? I love green beans in salads.

Mikaela said...

Oh Scaletta! I bet I'll be there fairly soon AND have the green bean salad, because like you said, they just mysteriously seem to have it every time we're there!

Jen said...

Glamah, they were whatever our CSA farmer decided to grow, lol. I think they're haricots verts, but I've made the salad with long beans, haricots verts, regular old green beans, etc., and it's always delicious!

Yes, Mikaela, I forgot you will most certainly be there before I! I don't think there was any way to give the place justice, but I tried. And will you be having the scallops, too? ;-)

anno said...

Oh boy! I think we have everything on hand needed to make this salad -- guess what we're having for dinner!

Korie said...

Ooh, looks yummy and easy too. I try to stay away from onions as they don't react well with CB's tummy and I'm often gassed out of the bed.

Jen said...

It's a perfect summer supper, Anno. Light and refreshing. Enjoy!

Jen said...

Lilac, you can skip the onions. I actually found them to be a bit too much last night.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Yes yes yes. A salad I learned this summer? Green beans, garlic, red wine vinegar and salt. *So* good and fresh :)

Mae Travels said...

Sounds Great!

Jen said...

Michelle, that's another one I love. Peter also posted a similar one today.

Thanks, Mae!

Virtualsprite said...

Looks beautiful and delicious! We've had sporadic beans from our garden, but when I checked yesterday it looked like in a week we will be inundated with purple beans. Yay! I can't wait to try this, although I think it will not be as pretty with purple beans.

janey jay said...

Oh my gosh, does that look good. Am totally making that this weekend... if I can wait that long!

thailandchani said...

It looks wonderful! I'm saving some of these recipes so that when I have an opportunity, I can try them.

Jen said...

Virtual, I think it will look absolutely lovely with purple beans!

Jane, I love this meal - simple and healthy!

I'm glad you might use it, Chani!

Momisodes said...

This looks really refreshing. I never thought to put fresh mozzarella with green beans. We love both in our house. This looks delicious. I just know my husband would enjoy this :)

Jen said...

Sandy, the two things about the mozzarella is that it should be just a little and cut small. Oh! Fresh - it's much better with fresh mozzarella, since that's blander.

Goofball said...

looks good..would it also bring the hot sunshine and the cool breezes if I make it?

Jen said...

Wow, if it did, I'd patent it!

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

This looks so good!
And you're scared of jam, silly you!
Although, this is lots easier than the "real" jam/canning.

Jen said...

Thanks, Brittany! I may be back over to your blog to find out more about freezer jam. Glamah, of course, is the canning queen - you should see what she concocts - it's pure magic!

Ben said...

That is a very nice looking salad. And it isn't wonderful when all you have to do is ask for something at a restaurant and they make it for you even if it isn't in the menu? That's good customer service :)

Have a great weekend!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Restaurants where they know your name and preferences are few and far between...you have a real treasure there:D

Núria said...

Awww... I love salads and the ones that are multicolored are even more attractive to me! Buen provecho! Good appetite :D

Thistlemoon said...

LOOOOVE that salad! Looks wonderful!

I love stories like this, I am glad these people are so good to your mom - more people should be this way - this is the way the world should be!
*stepping off soapbx on JEN's blog*

Shan said...


Jen said...

Ben and Val, they have wonderful customer service - they are just lovely people.

Nuria and Jenn - it's a wonderful summer salad and so simple! And Jenn, I couldn't agree with you more. And we're awful to our older citizens in this country.

Thanks, Shan!

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