I doubled this recipe for the family reunion this weekend. I needed a side dish that would keep 24 hours in a cooler packed in ice while we drove north to Maine. For some reason I didn’t want to make the potato salad I make for Jim’s family reunion. I was watching FoodNetwork earlier in the week and saw Sunny Anderson’s show, and this side dish seemed easy, pretty, and tasty.

1/2 pound of green beans
1/4 cup sliced Spanish olives*
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup cubed provolone cheese
2 cups cubed salume
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

*No olives in my salad. I substituted halved grape tomatoes. Marinated mushrooms would also be a good inclusion.

Fill a large bowl with a handful of ice and water. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the beans and cook until tender but still crunchy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to cool. Drain beans on paper towels, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a large serving bowl toss together beans, olives, red pepper, onion, cheese, and salami. In a separate bowl whisk in order, the red wine vinegar, sugar, oil and black pepper, to taste. Pour over salad, toss and serve.

This was my first adventure with blanching green beans, and I was worried I’d overdo them, but surprisingly I didn’t. I made this dish up on Friday afternoon and it wasn’t served until Saturday afternoon, and even after a day marinating in the oil and vinegar dressing, they were still crunchy. On the other side of the spectrum, a day marinating in the oil and vinegar tempered the flavors of the smoky provolone and the salume. Jim does not like raw tomatoes, but he actually liked the halved grape tomatoes that had soaked up the dressing. The highest praise any side dish could have garnered came from my uncle, who said “I like it…even if it does have green beans.” Well, that won him the privilege to keep all the leftovers.

Easily doubled. Kept like a gem in ice in our cooler almost 24 hours. (Side note: Want to know how awesome our cooler is? It kept a half gallon of milk icy fresh from Friday night to Sunday morning. I. Was. Amazed.)