I’ve started getting up early on the weekends to go to the farmers market, because right now I’m looking for any excuse to get the hell out of my house. Luckily, this is the very best time of year to wake up before noon on a Saturday, because we’ve reached the impossibly small window of time in which fruits and vegetables achieve almost supernatural levels of excellence! It’s a fleeting season full of tomatoes that will ruin us for all other tomatoes for the next ten months. And when tomatoes are this good, the best thing you can do to them is practically nothing at all.
Sometimes when we cook, there’s a temptation to overcomplicate things—we worry that if we’re not shooting the moon, we’re not doing “enough.” This, of course, is ridiculous. Right now tomatoes beg us to do the bare minimum, which is a great fit for those scorching summer evenings when we’re all too hot and unmotivated to do much of anything, much less tend to something on the stove. In this recipe, all the heavy lifting is done by the ingredients: good bread, good beans, good tomatoes. Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of really nice olive oil (I used this one) and a fancy finishing salt like Maldon. Treat your summer tomatoes right, and you’ll have a meal you can think back on all winter long.
Tomato Salad with Quick Pickled Beans
- 1 fat handful of fresh green or wax beans
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar (I like white wine or sherry)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- A few gorgeous tomatoes, any color you please
- 1/4 small white onion, finely minced
- Good, crusty bread
- Nice olive oil
- Fancy salt
- Fresh coarsely ground pepper
Trim the beans, cut them in half, and rinse them thoroughly under cold water. Without drying, put the beans into a microwave-safe bowl with the two tablespoons of water; cover the bowl with plastic wrap, cut a few vent holes, and microwave for 2 minutes to steam. Add the vinegar and kosher salt, toss well, and set aside.
Slice the tomatoes about 1/2" thick; arrange on a plate in a single layer. Sprinkle some white onion and freshly cracked pepper over each slice, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. Let the tomatoes and beans sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
Rip up bread into small pieces and toast in the oven, on a dry skillet, or in an air fryer to your liking. Next, plate the salad: scatter the toasted bread on a plate, add the beans, then the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle good olive oil and any reserved tomato juices over the top, then sprinkle on some fancy salt. Serve with additional bread, olive oil, and salt on the side.