Haricots Verts (French Green Beans) with Mint, Feta and Roasted Pecans

Haricots Verts with Mint, Feta and Roasted Pecans

Most people go back for seconds of this fabulous green bean salad. At one wedding one of the guests asked for thirds! This is fancy enough for a wedding or dinner party yet easy enough to make for a pot-luck or barbecue. The secret to this versatile salad is the mint.

Haricots Verts are small sweet French Green Beans. My sister jokes that went you pronounce them they sound like a man's name: "Harry Covair." If you can't get Haricot Verts than you can just use any fresh green beans. The secret is mint. Blanching them green beans in salted water and then shocking them in ice water keeps them vibrant and green.

You can use this recipe as a salad or side dish. It is terrific in spring or summer when all types of Green Beans are at their best!

Haricot Vert with Mint, Feta And Roasted Pecans

Haricot Verts or Fresh Green Beans, 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher Salt, 1 tablespoon
Feta Cheese, 4 ounces, crumbled
Roasted Pecans, 1 cup (see note below on roasting pecans)
Fresh Mint, 2 tablespoons, thinly sliced
Balsamic Vinaigrette, 1/3 cup
(use my recipe below or buy your favorite bottled version)

Blanch the green beans: Put salt in an 6 or 8 quart pot of boiling water. Add green beans and blanch for 3 minutes. You want them to still have a little crunch and be bright green.

Immediately rinse the green beans under very cold water until cooled or plunge them in an ice bath (bowl of water with ice in it.) Drain and pat dry.

In a large bowl, toss the green beans, feta cheese, pecans, mint and dressing. Serve.

You can prepare all of the ingredients except sliced mint a day in advance. Toss them together up to an hour before serving to keep the prevent the pecans from getting soft. Add fresh mint up to an hour before serving as well.

Maili's Notes: How to Roast Pecans: Roast pecans in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Stay close by so they don't burn!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

note: I often buy a large bottle of balsamic vinegar at Costco and reduce it by half. I then use the reduced balsamic in the salad dressing. You can make it either way. It will be sweeter and taste more like an aged expensive balsamic vinegar if you reduce it.

Grainy Mustard (I use Plochman's), 1 teaspoon
Kosher Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
Balsamic Vinegar, 1/2 cup
Olive Oil, 1 1/4 cup
Water, 2 tablespoons
Sugar, 1 tablespoon, optional

Place mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar in a blender. Remove middle cap from the lid of the blender. With the motor running, gradually pour the olive oil in a slow stream through the hole in the top of the blender. Add water and sugar and blend until emulsified. The remaining dressing will keep in the refrigerator for 6 weeks and can be used on any salad.

Alternately, the salad can be made in a bowl with a whisk. Just be sure to whisk constantly as you add the oil in a slow stream so it will emulsify.


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