Saturday, February 26, 2011

Eat Your Beans

I love vegetables. All of them. I will eat a huge bowl of broccoli in one sitting, roast asparagus like it's my job all the while dreaming about brussel sprouts. I realize that my absurd veggie obsession puts me into a pretty rare group of foodies and I'm perfectly okay with that. I cannot wait until the weather takes a My loving husband, however, is not a member of this club. He is not a picky eater by any means and he eats whatever I make, but when it comes to most of our vegetable side dishes, he's not the one going back for seconds. I'm happy as a clam with a drizzle of olive oil and kosher salt on my greens, but since my other half likes them a little more "dressed up", I have been experimenting with many different recipes to jazz up the dinner plate and giving our vegetables a little more personality. My attempt to turn Mark's hate for brussel sprouts into love was a success and he even requested them this week- and went back for more. Next on the list? Green beans. MOD sent me this recipe last week from one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, and I didn't last 48 hours before I gave it a whirl. This green bean salad is crisp, fresh and the fried almonds really are the cherry on top. I added in all of the pickled onions as well. Talk about yummy pickle-y deliciousness. Not only are the flavors bright, but these beans look beautiful in the serving bowl and on our plates. I like my food to be just as gorgeous as it is delicious. We're now 2-0, with vegetables winning in the Moore house!

Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 pound green beans
1/2 a fennel bulb
1 stalk celery
1/2 medium red onion
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup whole raw almonds
Olive Oil

Thinly slice fennel, celery and onion. I used my beloved Mandolin, or as Mark refers to it, the awesome slicer thingy. If you don't have a mandolin, slice them thinly with a knife. Toss the fennel with lemon juice to keep it from becoming brown, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Place the sliced onions in this pickling liquid and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the green beans for about 4-5 minutes, until al dente, so that they still have a crispness. When they are done, submerge them into an ice water bath and then drain and pat dry.

In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil and add almonds. Fry for about 2-5 minutes, or until toasty. Season with salt and pepper, and once cooled, cut into halves.

Time to marry it all together! Toss the green beans with the fennel, celery, onions and two tablespoons of the pickling liquid. The original recipe called for half of the onions but when I tested them, I fell in love, and had to have more. Play around with your seasoning and add as you see fit. I tossed with extra olive oil, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and pickling liquid.

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