One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.

-Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, "Pavarotti, My Own Story"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Easy, Make-Ahead Thanksgiving: Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Blanched green beans make a speedy make-ahead side for Thanksgiving, especially if you can get a helper to top and tail the beans for you! The vinegar cuts nicely through the richness of the rest of the meal. 

Click here for the Thanksgiving intro post and the rest of the recipes.




Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Don't boil the beans for too long or they'll turn grey and mushy. Plunging them immediately into ice water keeps them crisp and bright green. You can use hazelnuts or pecans and add dried cranberries, cherries, orange zest or lemon zest to the vinaigrette. The beans can be blanched and chilled, the nuts toasted and the vinaigrette prepared the day before but don't toss everything together until just before serving.

1.5 lb. green beans, top-and-tailed and snapped in half
A handful of slivered almonds
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. While it's coming to boil, put cold water and a bunch of ice cubes into a large bowl. 

2. Throw the beans into the boiling water and cook 6-7 minutes. They should still be bright green. Immediately drain the beans and put them into the ice water to stop them cooking. Let stand for a few minutes until beans are completely cool, then drain.

3. In a small pan over medium-low heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until slightly browned, 4-5 minutes.

4. Shake the oil, vinegar and syrup together in a small jar, then toss all the ingredients together. 

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