Simple Green Bean Salad with Toasted Sliced Almonds and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Green bean salad is probably the simplest, healthiest dish you can make. I usually serve it as a first course or as a side dish accompanying a roasted chicken or any other white meat.
As with other easy dishes, the key is to use good, fresh ingredients. I got some crisp haricots verts fins from the local market. Haricots verts fins literally means thin string beans in French; they are much more tender than regular green beans.
For an added contrast of texture, I added some toasted, sliced almonds and some coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes to bring a tart, acidic flavor.
What I love about this dish is that you can mix and match green beans with anything, such as wax beans (called haricots beurres in French). Just select an ingredient that will create an appealing color contrast: nuts, capers, feta cheese or even anchovies all work well.
Yields: 81 pound green beans
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 cup pomegranate vinaigrette (recipe follows in the tip section)
Wash the haricots verts. Blanch them for about 2-3 minutes in boiling salted water and transfer to an ice bath. Drain thoroughly of all water, then pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook the green beans; they should still be tender and crisp, not mushy, or you would have depleted all the healthy nutrients. Trim the ends of the beans. Cut the beans on the bias into 1-1/2 inch long pieces. Place in a large bowl.
In a small pan, dry toast the sliced almonds for about 2 minutes until slightly golden. Transfer to a plate to prevent the nuts from turning more golden (or burnt!).
Drizzle the pomegranate vinaigrette. Toss well. Sprinkle the toasted almonds.
C'est prêt! -"It's ready" (in French).
Serve at room temperature.
If you don't have any haricots verts, just substitute with the thinnest young fresh green beans you can find. To check for quality and for freshness, just break one in half; it should snap and be crisp.
For the pomegranate vinaigrette: This salad dressing is very similar to my kumquat clementine dressing for leek vinaigrette. First, dissolve 4 teaspoons of sugar in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of mustard. Set aside. Secondly, gather all the pomegranate seeds of 2 fruits. It's a bit messy but so worth it. Blend them. Place in a cheesecloth and gather as much juice as possible. Discard the pomegranate seeds. Place the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for a little less than 5 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about two tablespoons of the syrupy pomegranate juice. Remove from the heat. Add about 1/3 teaspoon of salt and whisk in about 1/2 cup of olive oil immediately while the juice is still hot. Add the mustard / apple cider vinegar mixture. Finish with white pepper.
I use the Vitamix blender to blend the pomegranate seeds. It's kind of expensive but so worth it. I got it for my wedding, and it's really powerful. It crushes ice into snow-cone ice almost instantaneously. It's perfect for smoothies. Just make sure there is some amount of liquid so that the motor does not burn.
If you want the vinaigrette to be even more tart, you can blend in some blueberries as well.
We got our first pomegranates in the garden. I wanted to share them with you. Aren't they beautiful? They are incredibly sweet.Published By: on August 2, 2009.