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Fresh Right Now: Yellow Wax Beans

GO VEG Ditch the bacon in the Salad recipe below, and crumble in smoked blue cheese in place of regular. You'll get meat-free smoked flavor. | Photo: Randy Mayor; Food Styling: Blakesless Wright Giles; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower

Some may tell you yellow wax beans taste just like green beans—heresy! Their unique grassy flavor is one of summer's distinct delights. Plus, these translucent, supersmooth pods need no stringing. In our salad (next page), their flavor is mild but doesn't disappear against peppery radishes, pungent blue cheese, salty bacon, or tangy buttermilk dressing.

These beans are at their peak from midsummer through early September. Choose firm, uniformly yellow pods with small beans inside—bulging beans are too mature and will be tough.

 

WAX BEAN AND RADISH SALAD WITH CREAMY PARSLEY DRESSING Hands-on: 18 min. Total: 18 min.

Here is a salad that will hold, creamy buttermilk dressing and all, for several hours, so it's a great make-ahead or take-to-picnic dish. Just sprinkle the blue cheese and bacon on right before serving.

¼ cup low-fat buttermilk ¼ cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 8 cups water 1 pound fresh yellow wax beans 1 cup thinly sliced radishes 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese (about ¼ cup) ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 center-cut bacon slices, cooked, drained, and crumbled

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add wax beans; cook 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge into ice water; drain. Combine beans, radishes, and oil in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place bean mixture on a serving platter; drizzle with buttermilk dressing. Top with cheese, pepper, and bacon.

SERVES 6 (serving size: about 1 cup bean mixture and 1½ tablespoons dressing) CALORIES 89; FAT 4.9g (sat 1.6g, mono 2g, poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 5g; CARB 8g; FIBER 3g; CHOL 8mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 244mg; CALC 76mg