Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fresh Green Beans with Romaine and Tomatoes, Oil and Lemon Dressing

Photo courtesy of Nanther Thangarajah
I am a big fan of Julia Child, although I have to admit that I do not have any of her cookbooks and I have not made any of her recipes.  This is the first Julia Child recipe that I've ever made.  Both Clare's father and I made this dish as a side dish for the Guest Chef Night menu. 

While I am not a very big fan of vegetables, I have to say that this recipe is a refreshing mix of beans, onions and tomatoes.  All of these vegetables (and fruits) are all tied together with very light, lemony dressing that is probably the most labor intensive part of this recipe, but all of that labor is definitely worth it in the end. 

As for the beans, they just need to be blanched and then cooled in an ice bath, which helps to preserve their color and crispness.  Each ingredient to this salad -- the beans, tomatoes and onions -- need to be refrigerated and then assembled shortly before serving.  This is a great side dish to any many course.   

Recipe by Julia Child from Julia Child and Company,
     Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978 at 154-55
Serves 8

Ingredients for salad:
2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans trimmed and blanched
1 head romaine lettuce (or other fresh salad greens)
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Ingredients for dressing:
1 lemon
1 small clove of garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
6 or more tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium size red onions sliced into thin rings
1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes 

1.  Blanche the beans in hot boiling water for about three minutes and then remove the beans to an ice bath.  Once the beans are cooled, wrap the blanched beans in a clean towel and store in a plastic bag.  Wash and dry salad greens.  Wrap in a clean towel and store in a plastic bag.  Refrigerate both the beans and the greens.

2.  Zest half of the lemon.  Pound garlic and zest with a little salt into a paste.  Whisk in mustard, a tablespoon of lemon juice and olive oil.  Taste the dressing to ensure that it does not become too acidic.

3.  Toss the onions with the dressing and refrigerate. Halve the tomatoes, place cut side up on a dish and lightly salt.  Cover and refrigerate.

4.  Arrange salad greens on plate and lightly salt.  Toss the blanch beans in a bowl with the onions and dressing.  Arrange the tomatoes around the edge of the plate.  Baste the tomatoes with dressing.  Cover and keep cool until serving time.


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