String Beans, Capers, and Basil Salad
Insalata di Fagiolini, Capperi, e Basilico

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String Beans, Capers, and Basil Salad
Insalata di Fagiolini, Capperi, e Basilico
cookbook: Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking
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serves: 6

This is a refreshing salad, particularly in the summer months. Do play with the different kinds of string beans available in season. I love the flat Roman green varietal, but a mixture of green and yellow wax beans is delicious. This base salad can be enhanced to become a main course by adding canned tuna or sardines. It is also a great way to use leftover grilled fish or chicken.


¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
1 pound string beans, trimmes
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup drained tiny capers in brine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the string beans, and blanch until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain, and rinse to cool slightly.

Shred the basil. Put the string beans in a bowl, and toss with the capers and basil. Drizzle with the vinegar and oil, and season with the salt. Toss to coat, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking

In her beautifully illustrated new cookbook, Lidia Bastianich lays out a comprehensive curriculum of wise cooking tips--from the cutting board to the kitchen table. Channeling the instructive elements from the companion Public Television series, Lidia’s Kitchen, she teaches us that a good dose of common sense is the key ingredient to a stellar meal. As storyteller and chef, Lidia draws on anecdotes to educate and illustrate. Recalling lessons learned from her mother, Erminia, and her grandmother, Nonna Rosa, Lidia pays homage to the kitchen sages who inspired her. Whether it's Citrus Roasted Veal or Rustic Ricotta Tart, each recipe is a tangible feast. We learn to look at ingredients as both geographic and cultural indicators; in Campania, the region where mozzarella is king, we discover it is best eaten three hours after preparation. In Genova we are taught that while focaccia had its basil origins in the Ligurian culinary tradition, the herbs and flavorings will change from region to region--home chefs can experiment with rosemary, oregano, olives, or onions! When it's time for dessert, Lidia draws on the sacred customs of nuns in Italian monasteries and convents and reveals the secret to Rice Pudding with a Blessing. Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking is a collection of 150 delectable recipes told with common sense cooking wisdom that teaches us how create simple, seasonal, Italian dishes with grace, confidence, and love.

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