Friday, November 11, 2016

Lemony Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Last Year's Post: Dutch Baby
Two Years Ago:  Brussels Sprout Leaf Salad

It's holiday season, and that means some big meals are coming up.  Skip the green bean casserole this year and make this fresh take on green beans that's a nice balance to the other heavier dishes on the table.  Lemon adds brightness while the Dijon adds some zip, although you might consider leaving the Dijon out if you have some picky or young eaters.  This is a great side dish for ham, turkey, roast beef, or any other holiday centerpiece.

One of the major advantages of this recipe is that you can make it in advance, which frees up time and cook top space for other things right before the big meal.  Just cook the beans and make the vinaigrette in advance, then toss them together right before serving. It's meant to be served at room temperature which makes it great for a buffet table, and it's easy to carry the components to someone else's house and just assemble at the last minute.

Be sure to buy the most beautiful fresh green beans you can find.  If they're very thin haricot verts, you may need to lessen the cooking time a little.  The best way to figure out the cooking time is to start tasting after a couple of minutes and keep on tasting every minute until they're done how you like them.  I personally like beans that are crisp-tender, which is how this recipe is written.  Note that I made a half recipe for these pictures; two pounds of green beans would easily serve 6 as part of a large holiday dinner.  The recipe may be doubled or tripled.

Lemony Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Serves 6

⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
Kosher salt
2 lbs thin fresh green beans
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, optional Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt, then the green beans, and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately transfer the green beans to the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.

Toss the beans gently in the lemon vinaigrette. Top with toasted almonds and serve.

Make Ahead: Prepare the beans and dressing and refrigerate separately up to a day ahead. Toss together just before serving.

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