Jun 19, 2011

Green Beans with Parsley, Almonds, Sesame Seeds and Goat Cheese

We've been making this green bean salad for months and just can't stop eating it. I like green beans, but they don't usually just jump out and grab my attention most of the time. I love finding recipes for dishes that seem to be more than the sum of their parts. This is one of those recipes. The fresh, bright crunch of the green beans is preserved by quickly blanching them in boiling water and immediately submerging them in ice water to stop the cooking and chill them down. They keep their gorgeous green color and snappy texture this way. And they in no way resemble the mushy, overcooked, sludge of my childhood. This recipe gives green beans their due. And something magical happens when the flavors of the toasted almonds, sesame seeds, lemon, parsley, mustard, shallots and goat cheese come together. It's bright and refreshing and the perfect summer salad. It would make a great picnic salad too in individual Mason jars.

I've been finding recipes like this over and over on the Farm+House+Table blog from Farmhouse Delivery. They work with local, organic and sustainable farmers to provide their customers with deliveries of the best local produce. And then they go a step further. Elizabeth Winslow, one of the co-founders of Farmhouse Delivery, provides recipes using that produce that open your eyes (and tastebuds) to new flavors. I've seen recipe after recipe there that I've bookmarked to try. This green bean salad was one of them. Now we can't stop making it. On her blog, Winslow says the recipe comes from Azul, a groovy little East Austin cafe that is no longer open. I liked Azul too, but don't remember this salad. I'm so glad she preserved this treasure from their menu.

Check out Farm+House+Table for more ways to make the most of the bounty of the garden, whether it's your own or a local farmer's. You'll be seduced by the flavors presented there and the incredible photography of Jody Horton.

Green Beans with Parsley, Almonds, Sesame Seeds and Goat Cheese

1 pound green beans
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 large handfuls of Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup sliced or slivered roasted, salted almonds
1/2 cup crumbled chevre goat cheese
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pan.

Fill a medium-sized bowl with ice and water. Set aside.

While the water is coming to a boil, trim ends from green beans and slice them into bite-sized pieces.

Drop the green beans into the boiling water for 30 seconds to blanch them. Immediately remove them and drop them into the bowl of ice water. Let them chill in the ice water for 10 minutes, while you put the rest of the salad together.

In a small bowl, make your dressing. Add lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and shallots. Whisk together. Slowing whisk in olive oil. Set aside.

in a large serving bowl, place almonds and parsley.

Drain green beans from ice water. I put the green beans in a dry dish cloth and rolled them around a bit to remove the excess water. This keeps the dressing from getting watered down.

Add the green beans to the serving bowl and toss with almonds and parsley. Add the dressing and toss again to coat evenly.

Sprinkle top with goat cheese crumbles and sesame seeds.

Serves 6.

Adapted from Farm+House+Table blog by Elizabeth Winslow.

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