Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green Bean Salad 2011 or Haricots verts avec fenouil, citron et champignons

My Current Bean Salad- Just for One
 Even today I wrinkle my whole face (not just my nose) at the words "bean salad."  I don't care what kind of bean salad it is or was.  I just have this awful smell of canned yellow wax beans mixed with canned red kidney beans, green beans and bottled Italian dressing in my nostrils.  "Ach" isn't a bad enough sound. Clench teeth; hiss out through the sides.  Pee Yew.  What a snot, huh?

Once, when we were newlyweds (or close), we moved into a neighborhood where the neighbors had a welcoming potluck for us.  Sweet.  Nice people, great neighborhood.  Except that when I asked what I could bring, the person organizing the meal said, "Oh, why don't you bring bean salad."  Now I may have only been 22, but I already hated bean salad and so replied in a stinky-sweet whine, "I don't know how to make that; could I bring potato salad?"  No way, she instructed me about how to make bean salad.   Said it was high time I learned how to make it.

Today, I would have pointed my finger down my throat (figuratively), and I sure as heck would not have brought bean salad.  In those "young wife" days, I did as I was told and gagged attractively through the making of it.   Chopped my onions and green peppers and mixed it up with Wishbone.  Yuck.

 2009 Bean Salad from 6-7-09 More Time at the Table post

 These days I make LOVELY green bean salads--several of them.  Interesting salads are a trademark (I think) of interesting restaurants or cooks.  While you and I adore green salads, isn't it cool when there's something very different?  Here's one you make yourself, putting your skills up there with a fine vegetable or salad chef.  This would also wow your friends at a dinner party where it might serve as a first course or third, a la francaise.  Did I mention what a healthy meal this is?  ( A serving of green beans contain over a quarter of the amount of vitamin C you need daily.  Move over orange juice.)  Stir in a bit of seasoned, dressed brown rice (use the same dressing) for a larger meal or to fill up your vegan boyfriend.  (Skip the Parm for him.)

Salade Nicoise 9-25-09 More Time at the Table post

 In the spring and summer, green beans are nearly an open canvas.  There are that many things you can do with them. Here are a few:
  • Cook them til they're uber-done with ham, new potatoes, onions and lots of black pepper a la grandma
  • Steam them and eat with the dip of your choice (don't cut them)
  • Blanch them 2-3 minutes, bathe in ice, drain and dress with a vinaigrette (mustard? lemon?)
  • Use them as a base for a tiny bit of leftover casserole, etc instead of rice or pasta and save calories
  • Blanche, then saute in butter/olive oil with garlic.  Top with a sprinkle of cheddar.
  • Add leftover, cooked beans to any green salad
  • If you're addicted to the mushroom soup fix, try  instead making creamed mushrooms and add them to freshly cooked beans
Or you could make this lovely salad...that feels "meaty" without the meat.  Filling, but light.  Almost says summer out loud.
If you have any left, serve it as a side with a grilled chop or piece of chicken another night.

Green Bean, Fennel and Mushroom Salad with Parmesan and Lemon Vinaigrette Serves 1-2
1/2 # green beans or haricots verts (the skinny variety)
1 bulb fennel, fronds removed (save for garnish), and sliced into half-moons*
1/4 c chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3T olive oil, divided
8 oz button mushrooms (small are nice)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
1T fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper

  1. In a 3 qt pot, bring 1 1/2 qts salted and peppered water to boil.
  2. Add green beans and cook 2 -4 minutes (less for haricots verts).  Using a large slotted spoon, remove to a bowl full of ice and water. (Or drain in a colander and place in ice bath).  Let cool 2 minutes; drain and set aside in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle beans with a bit of salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat 1 T of the olive oil over medium heat; sprinkle the oil with salt and pepper.  Add sliced fennel and chopped onions.  Saute, stirring,  3-4 minutes; add garlic.  Stir, cooking until vegetables are nearly tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place with beans to briefly cool.
  4. Reheat skillet (add a bit more oil or butter if it needs more) over medium-high heat and add mushrooms.  Do not salt.  Let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan, until light brown.  Remove from skillet and add to green bean mixture. Cool a bit.  
  5. In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk 1T lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper to dissolve salt.  Drizzle in, whisking, 1T olive oil until thoroughly combined.  Repeat with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasonings. 
  6. Drizzle a bit of lemon dressing over the bean mixture and stir in Parmesan.  Taste, correct seasonings; add more dressing if necessary.  Serve at room temperature or chilled with a bit of baguette or a piece of toasted whole wheat bread.
  7. *There's a small core at the heart of the fennel you need to cut away--sort of like in a cabbage.
  8. Wine?  Sancerre. 
Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love hearing from you! If you don't have gmail or a blog, you can choose "anonymous" from the comment pull-down menu. Sign your name within the comment box if you'd like. Thanks, Alyce