Tuesday, October 6, 2009

French Green Bean Salad

Seriously, this title would mean absolutely nothing to me if I stumbled across it in a recipe list. Laughably, I found a recipe with a (very) similar title on a site which shall remain nameless that had two ingredients: green beans and salt. And the directions said to briefly simmer the green beans in salted boiling water. That's it. Hmmm.

My inspiration for making this dish came from some truly awesome-looking green beans at the market. Awesome enough to entice me put back the asparagus from my basket (that was on sale!) and the fact that Jim is still in Paris. After making Poule au Pot and Potatoes Lyonnaise on Sunday, I wanted to add something new to the table when serving leftovers for dinner on Monday.

I kept this somewhat simple so the green beans were the star, and included a few of my favorite ingredients commonly found in a green bean salad. For me, this meant shallots soaked in red wine vinegar for an hour or so beforehand to help mellow the bite (a technique I learned from my sister,) chopped walnuts (didn't get around to toasting them, which would have been preferable,) and some amazing artisanal hand-made herb chevre I found at the grocery story, called "Femme Fatale" from Austin-based Cheesy Girl. Who would have guessed that the shallots turned out to be the start ingredient? I must say, even though yelling at the table is generally not a good thing, it made me smile inside to hear not quite two-year old Charlotte demanding more "Shallots! Shallots!"

French Green Bean Salad
Adapted from a lot of similar recipes

1 pound green beans, or haricot verts if you want to play up the French theme
2 large shallots, sliced extremely thin
2 oz of your favorite chevre, crumbled
1/4 C roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix thinly sliced shallots with enough vinegar to cover, 2-3 tablespoons, and set aside. Wash green bean and trim ends. Steam (or boil) until crisp-tender, then plunge into ice water bath to stop cooking and set the bright color. Dry beans (salad spinner or towel) and toss with shallots, vinegar & oil (to taste) and plenty of salt & pepper. Top with toasted nuts and crumbled chevre.

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