The cover of the Tri-City Herald's Food & Wine section April 22 will feature information on freezing and pickling asparagus. Inside you'll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.
Green Bean Salad
When slim French green beans known as haricots verts are tossed in a basil vinaigrette, they make a versatile first course that can be either dressed up with the ingredients in this recipe or served as is.
Note: All components except the bacon can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance.
For the vinaigrette
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped (1 tablespoon)
For the salad
10 ounces haricots verts (French green beans), trimmed
6 ounces spring mix or mesclun greens
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 strips crisped (cooked) bacon, cut into small pieces ( 1/4 cup)
2 large hard-cooked eggs, grated (see NOTE)
For the vinaigrette: Combine the basil, salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, mustard, oil and shallot in the bowl of a mini food processor; puree for 1 minute, until an emulsion forms. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir vigorously before using.
For the salad: Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the haricots verts; cook for 4 minutes, until slightly crunchy, or 5 minutes, until tender and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to the ice-water bath until cooled, then drain and blot dry on paper towels.
Place the beans in a medium bowl and add half of the vinaigrette; toss to coat evenly, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 1 day in advance).
When ready to serve, place the spring mix or mesclun greens in a large bowl. Add the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Add the beans, crumbled cheese, bacon pieces and hard-cooked egg. Divide among individual plates or serve on a platter.
VARIATION: For a more substantial first course, place two large pieces of smoked salmon or prosciutto on individual plates. Top with a small handful of greens tossed in the vinaigrette, a neat stack of dressed haricots verts and a garnish of chopped or grated egg for the salmon, shaved Parmesan cheese for the prosciutto and a lemon wedge for both.
NOTE: To hard-cook eggs, place eggs in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by an inch or two. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water until the eggs are cool enough to peel.
NUTRITION Per serving: 274 calories, 7 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 26 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 84 mg cholesterol, 403 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar.
From: David Hagedorn, a chef and former restaurateur in the Washington, D.C. Area; Special to The Washington Post.