This recipe comes almost verbatim from one of our favorite Middle Eastern cookbooks, Jerusalem: A Cookbook. In the book, the recipe calls for yellow and green beans, but it was purple beans that graced our demo garden in abundance on the afternoon we prepared this delightful salad, so purple beans it was that we chose to feature! Alas, the great heartbreak of purple beans is that they lose that amazing purple hue in the brief cooking process, and become green. Still, they add a bit of contrast to the dish, another shade of green, if not as much visual contrast as the yellow wax beans will when they come into season in another week or two. Our only other digression from the recipe was to increase the cooking time for the peppers; we like them with a little bit of black around the edges, ourselves.
Sometimes we use leftover grilled peppers if we’ve got any of those instead.
Preheat the oven to 450° F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the yellow or purple beans. After 1 minute, add the green beans and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through but still crunchy. Refresh under ice-cold water, drain, and pat dry. Place the beans in a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, toss the peppers in 1 tsp olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. 5 minutes gets them just tender, and 10 should get them a little char.
Remove the peppers from the oven and add them to the bowl with the green beans.
Prepare and measure out the garlic, seeds, and capers. Heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds, add the capers (careful, they spit) and fry for another 15 seconds. Add the cumin and coriander seed, and cook for another 15 seconds. The garlic will turn golden and the fragrance of toasted spices will fill the kitchen.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the contents over the bean and pepper mixture. Toss and add the green onions, herbs, lemon zest, a generous 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
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