Here’s an idea for that jar of tahini paste you no doubt have at the back of the fridge and only gets used once in a blue moon. This tahini and lemon dressing is based on one from Nada Saleh’s New Flavours of the Lebanese Table, a little gem of a book I can't recommend highly enough, where it is used to dress a potato salad. Since discovering the recipe I’ve been using variations of it to top of all sorts of salads and vegetable dishes, and this is my favourite so far.
Young bean salad with tahini and lemon dressing
Makes enough for one medium bowl or platter
For the tahini and lemon dressing:
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of light tahini paste
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of water
500g of fresh mixed beans, I used yellow French beans, dwarf green beans and runner beans.
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
I tend to make the dressing a la Jamie Oliver – add all the ingredients into a jam jar and give it a good shake. It’s also a good way to store it in the fridge where it will keep for up to a week. If you prefer the dressing can be whisked together in a bowl, the result should be the same as the ingredients will emulsify to form a creamy sauce. If you feel the mixture is too thick add a little more water.
To prepare the beans I topped and tailed the yellow beans, then cut the larger green beans into smaller evenly sized pieces. To prepare the runner beans use a peeler to remove the stringy fibres that run down each side of the bean, before cutting them into smaller pieces.
To cook the beans place them in a steamer or boiling water for 4-5 minutes until just tender then plunge them into a big bowl of iced water to stop them cooking and preserve their colour and a little crunch.
Toast the seeds in a dry, heavy bottomed pan until they start to colour a little and the mustard seeds begin to pop, then quickly remove and set aside.
To serve, arrange the beans on a platter before pouring over about half of the dressing and scattering with the toasted seeds. Reserve half of the dressing for people to add as required.