This green bean salad is great for summer. Make it in the morning before it gets too hot out, then refrigerate it and you can dine cool and comfortable later in the day. That said, I'd make this one any time of year. Thanks to the Black Walnut Bakery Café in Wortley Village, London, Ontario for the salad that inspired this one!
Fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the 1/2 tsp salt (the water will roil up), then the prepared green beans. Cover and cook the beans for about 4-1/2 minutes for a tender crisp result, during which time the water will return to a boil. Ready a large bowl of ice water and have on standby next to the stove. Once the beans are done to your liking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to the bowl of ice water. As soon as they're cool, drain the beans in a colander (I scoop out any remaining ice first), shake off as much water as you can and then spread them on a clean tea towel and roll up to dry further.
Tumble the chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, olives and cheese into a large bowl (make sure it's big enough to stir and toss the entire salad). Add the beans, and dress with the olive oil, one tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, and the oregano, pepper and salt. Toss well, and taste. Add additional balsamic vinegar and seasonings to taste.
You can eat this right away, but it's even better after a few hours in the refrigerator or the next day, as the additional time gives the flavours a chance to meld and further develop.
You'll notice the directions call for adding the balsamic vinegar in stages — I've found this vinegar comes in a range of intensities. Unfortunately, I'm out of my favourite, which is sticky, sweet and very tangy; the one I had on hand isn't as assertive and I needed to use more.