French Bean Summer Salad
with nettle & mint yoghurt dressing – a summery salad combining garden herbs, a German-inspired salad dressing and delicious French beans. A great salad for summer barbeques, lunches or simply as a starter. Just remember to use rubber gloves whilst handling the nettles, but if you do get a sting, then dab the area with sticky tape to remove the sting, squeeze on some lemon juice.
What you need
7 nettle-top sprigs, the top three bracts
350g French beans, topped and tailed
Sea salt to season
60g fresh summer spearmint leaves, roughly chopped
3 lemons, freshly squeezed juice
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
150g yoghurt, full fat, strained (Greek yoghurt is good and you can use low fat if you’d prefer)
1 tbsp almonds, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
A splash of fruity virgin olive oil
How to make it
- Firstly, pluck the nettle tops gingerly from countryside hedgerows, or your garden borders, rinse to clean, pop them into gently boiling water to blanch for about 3 minutes then plunge into ice-cold water. When cool, about 5 minutes, strain, squeeze dry, roughly chop and set aside.
- Using the same pot of water, add about 3 tsp of salt, pop in the beans and cook until they’re soft, but still hold a little shape, remove from the pot, then plunge into ice-cold water, set aside and leave to cool
- Pop the nettles, mint, lemon juice, oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper and cumin into a food processor and blitz to a paste
- In a small bowl, add the paste, the yoghurt and stir together, check and rectify the seasoning.
- Remove the beans from the water, pat dry and lay them on a serving platter, spoon over the dressing, scatter the nuts, splash over a little olive oil and serve.