The appeal of this salad comes from its contrasting flavours and textures. Make this in midsummer, when the nectarines are ripened by the sun and the green beans are still tender. It is best served on a wide plate, rather than piled into a deep bowl. 

serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a side salad


  • 350–400g (12–14oz) trimmed green beans (haricots verts, wax beans or young flat beans are fine)

    WNK-Fruitful Bookcover Fruitful: Sweet and Savoury Fruit Recipes Inspired by Farms, Orchards and Gardens Sarah Johnson
  • 3–4 tablespoons Simple Vinaigrette (see below)

  • 60g (2¼oz) whole almonds, toasted until golden and halved lengthways 

  • 75g (2½oz) feta, crumbled

  • 2 ripe and fragrant nectarines

  • fennel blossoms, tender fennel fronds or green anise (optional)

  • good-quality oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper 


Start by cooking the green beans. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil and add a few pinches of salt. Fill a bowl with cold water and set aside. Drop the trimmed green beans into the boiling water and cook for 1–2 minutes until the green beans begin to soften but still have a snap. Later in the season, when the beans are bigger, cook for 3–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the cold water to stop them cooking, then lay on a clean tea towel to dry. 

Place the green beans into a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette, add two-thirds of the almonds and half the feta, then gently fold a couple of times to combine, taking care not to smear the feta into the beans. Stone and slice the nectarines into wedges, and gently fold into the salad. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary, then transfer to a wide serving plate. Finish with the rest of the feta and almonds, a drizzle of good oil and pepper. Scatter fennel blossoms over the top (if using) and serve.


Duck Salad: Add strips of warm duck breast to the salad. 

Other Fruits: Swap the nectarines for peaches or plums or add slices of ripe sweet figs to the salad. 

Other Cheeses: Swap the feta for ricotta salata or a creamy goat’s cheese.

Simple Vinaigrette

makes about 200 ml (63/4fl oz)

  • 1 small shallot, finely diced 

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 150ml (5fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Place the diced shallots into a small bowl with the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Leave the shallots to soften for 10–15 minutes. Pound the garlic in a mortar (or it can be smashed on a cutting board using the side of a knife), then transfer the garlic to a bowl with the mustard and macerated shallots. Whisk everything together, then gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Adjust with salt and pepper. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Excerpted from: Fruitful by Sarah Johnson, Kyle Books, Photo: Patricia Niven

When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you!