This one is over the top. Not in the same way as a traditional green bean casserole (which, by the way, is not a tradition in my family. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten green bean casserole. Seriously.)
Even if we don’t do the cream of mushroom soup thing (although, did you see the Smitten Kitchen’s green beans this week? hmmm. Might have to reconsider), we do typically have a bean dish on the table. More often than not, I ask my Mom to jump in and make sauteed green beans with slivered almonds- delicious, buttery, nutty beans.
I can’t leave well enough alone, though. This year, since I am culling dishes, I want to make sure each dish that graces the table really functions to stimulate the palate in a way that will complement the other items on the table. So instead of thinking that I need two green veggie dishes and potatoes and bread, etc- I am thinking in terms of acidity, crunch, salt, velvet, smooth, sweet, bitter- not necessarily making sure that each dish has all of these elements but that the complete plate at dinner is complex yet satisfying- you can go from the creamy celery root and apple puree and then pop up in brightness with the sweet acidity of the kale salad, followed by some crunchy green beans, etc. What is important about using this type of methodology in picking dishes is that there have to be some flavors in common to string along your tongue- for the beans- it is the hazelnut addition.
You see, we already invited hazelnuts to the party as a textural component for the kale salad. A natural progression is to then include them as an element in one other dish. In the case of the beans- it is a double dose- both hazelnut oil and toasted hazelnuts are used (so errant nuts on the plate can complement multiple dishes!). The inspiration for the vinaigrette actually came from a truffled deviled quail egg recipe I used a few years ago for a date night in (I know how that sounds. Very spoiled. It’s sorta how we roll around here). It may sound weird at first- lemon juice is the acidic component- combined with a little chopped shallot, semi-emulsified with the hazelnut oil and a touch of black truffle oil, seasoned with white pepper and some crunchy salt on top…. heaven. Seriously. I love this vinaigrette- and if you want to mash it up with some egg yokes and top it with some shaved black truffles- well, I wouldn’t mind coming over. If you have the patience to do that with quail eggs (ahh, sometimes I do!) you have one of the cutest luxe appetizers out there!
So, make these beans. I think you will love them. They’re pretty unique and have a very bright flavor. Also, if you want to really be a baller (and I might do this for T-day, if I can find good ones) shave some black truffle over the top. You know, because you can.
- 1 Large bag of green beans or haricot vert (whichever you can find)- 2 lbs or so. The vinaigrette is easily scaled, so make as much or as little as you need!
- Juice of One lemon
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (can be found at many grocery stores next to the fancy oils. Ours came from Whole Foods)
- 1-2 teaspoons of Black Truffle Oil (same deal as the hazelnut oil)
- Handful of toasted hazelnuts
- Black Truffles (jarred is fine)- sliced very very thin. If you are a baller.
- Salt & Pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil; drop in the beans
- Cook beans for a couple of minutes- you want them al dente and still bright green!
- If making the dish ahead, shock the beans in ice water to preserve their color.
- Place the lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl (or your serving bowl, if you aren't into doing a ton of extra dishes).
- Whisk in the oils- this will be a somewhat "broken" vinaigrette. I like my vinaigrette quite zippy- if you don't, add a VERY small amount more hazelnut oil. Both oils are extremely flavorful and overdoing it can result in disaster.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Oh! And guess what, this is also Paleo. So long as your truffle oil is based off of Olive Oil- the rest of the ingredients are good to go. I decided to mention this last- mostly because I feel as if it is exclamation point at the end- luxe! zippy! and CLEAN eating! WOAH!