Friday, December 21, 2007

#61: Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pecans

Even though the Toasted Pecans are highlighted in the title of this recipe, it's the prosciutto that really makes the dish. Blogger Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini created this recipe for Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pecans and published it in her cookbook released this year. Food & Wine magazine was impressed and listed it as #61 on their 100 Tastes to Try list.

I used fresh green beans so it took a while to get them all trimmed. But after that this recipe went together very quickly.

This recipe got thumbs up from everyone I served it to. We really like how fresh the green beans still were and how well the prosciutto complimented them. The flavors and textures go very well together.

Green Bean Salad with Pecans and Dry-Cured Ham
(serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a starter)

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed (substitute frozen - no need to them them - but not canned)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

3 ounces dry-cured ham, thinly sliced and shredded in 1-inch strips (use jambon d'Ardeche, prosciutto, Parma or Serrano ham)

1/3 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Steam the beans for 10 minutes (12 if they are frozen), until cooked through but still crisp (if your steamer is small, work in two batches to ensure even cooking). Dump the beans in a large bowl of ice-cold water, to stop the cooking and preserve the beans' color. Drain thoroughly.

In a medium salad bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Season with a little salt - no too much, as dry-cured ham is quite salty - and a generous grind of pepper. Add the beans and parsley, and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Arrange the ham and pecans over the beans. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a day. Remove from the fridge half an hour before eating. (You can also plate the salad individually: divide the beans among plates, and top with ham and pecans.)

Variations: Use sugar snap peas instead of green beans, or walnuts instead of pecans.

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