Here is a salad we threw together in no time that is a pleasant change from your run-of-the-mill lettuce greens and tomato salad. It is very easy to make, and makes an excellent side dish to festive or simple roasts (chicken, duck, turkey, etc) or fish. Haricots verts are small tender french green beans (see this post for more information) that seem to be popping up in upscale groceries more and more lately. While I have to say that our local versions seem a little large or older than they should be, they are still more appealing than the tougher and large baguio beans that are more commonly on offer.
To make, clean the beans by removing the stems and tougher tips if necessary. If they aren’t the freshest of the fresh, rehydrate them in a bowl of cold or ice water for 20-30 minutes. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil, and blanche the haricots verts for say a minute or so (depending on size and volume) and immediately drain and transfer the beans to ice water to shock them, stop the cooking process and preserve their intense green color. Drain thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Next, make the dressing. In this case, I chopped up whatever interesting fresh herbs were in the fridge, including Italian parsley, mint and dill. Add this to a vinaigrette of good extra virgin olive oil, some red wine vinegar, mustard if you like it, a touch of fresh lemon juice if you like the brightness, salt, pepper. In a large bowl, add the blanched and cooled beans, some grape or cherry tomatoes, the dressing and toss gently and serve cool or at room temperature. Extremely easy to do and wonderful on the palate. Beans with a bit of resistance left, the sweet grape tomatoes burst in your mouth and a vinaigrette that is well-perfumed with fresh herbs.