Let me begin by stating that I used dried beans instead of fresh (the recipe calls for fresh if you can find them). I soaked them for three days and then simmered them in water, salt, chicken stock and a chilé de arbol for the better part of a day before allowing them to cool, peeling them, and splitting them lengthwise. After all of this tedium, they still were not the tender creatures I had anticipated.
But I had never dealt with the scarlet runner bean before. If you can't find this variety of bean I suggest cannellini beans. (Dixon LOVED this recipe!)
This turned out to be pretty tasty. Very fresh and summery. I would serve it with some olives, a crust of bread, and a glass of crisp, sauvignon blanc (I recommend the Brander, 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley).
Scarlet Runner Bean Salad
(From "Unusual Vegetables: Something New for This Years Garden" by the editors of Organic Gardening)
1 lb scarlet runner beans
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch of watercress
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Wash the beans, snap off the ends, and French-cut into lengthwise strips. Steam briefly, until just tender; drain thoroughly, and place in a large bowl with the onion, tomatoes, watercress and garlic. Toss well. Combine the remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Pour over the beans, toss well, and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving to blend flavors.