This fragrant salad is perfect for a summer buffet or picnic. The beans are tossed with all the other ingredients while they are still hot, which allows them to absorb as much of the flavors as possible. Adding the vinegar to the beans when they are hot causes some of the acidity from the vinegar to evaporate while maintaining all its richness and flavor.
Fill a pot large enough to hold the green beans with water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
While the water is heating, snap off the ends of the beans and rinse them in cold water. When the water comes to a boil, salt it generously (about 1 teaspoon per quart of water) and put in the beans. Cook until they are tender all the way through but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes.
While the beans are cooking, sliver the olives by slicing the flesh away from the pits. Lightly crush and peel the garlic cloves, shred the basil, and coarsely chop the oregano. Put the olives, garlic, basil, oregano, and capers in the salad bowl you will be using.
When the beans are cooked, drain them well and add them to the salad bowl. Add the vinegar and toss. Add the olive oil, toss again, and taste for salt. Let stand at room temperature for about 3 hours and remove the garlic cloves before serving.
This salad can be made a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Be sure to let it come to room temperature before servings.
Recipe courtesy of Every Night Italian, Published by Scribner, 2000