Salad of Green Beans, Chinese Garlic Stems, and Olives

Preparation info

  • Serves


    Appears in

    Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

    By Elizabeth Schneider

    Published 2001

    • About

    This light and crunchy salad looks as if it were made entirely of green beans—but a sniff reveals the garlic stems, which appear to be almost identical. The fragrance of crushed fennel seed adds a sweet note, and slivers of oily black olive contribute their winy richness. Shreds of Belgian endive lighten color, texture, and flavor.


    • 6 ounces Chinese garlic stems
    • ½ pound green beans (see Note)
    • 10 oil-cured black olives
    • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
    • ½ teaspoon freeze-dried green peppercorns or ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon white pepper
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium Belgian endive


      1. Bend bottom of each garlic stem to snap it off where it breaks naturally (tender ones don’t need trimming). Drop into a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil until not quite tender, a minute or two. Lift out (save water for beans) into ice water. Drain and pat dry.
      2. Trim stems from beans. At an angle, cut beans into 1½- to 2½-inch lengths, approximately, as size of bean dictates. Boil in the reserved water until barely al dente—not tender—3 to 5 minutes, depending upon size. Drain and cool in the ice water. Drain and pat dry.
      3. At an angle, cut garlic stems to match beans. Combine in bowl.
      4. Pit olives, then cut into very thin lengthwise strips. Combine fennel, peppercorns, and salt in suribachi, mortar, or spice mill; crush to medium-fine texture. Combine with vinegar, then whisk in oil. Add to bowl and toss to coat. Chill.
      5. To serve, halve endive lengthwise and cut into thin strips. Add to salad and toss. Season, and add oil and vinegar if needed.