Mediterranean Green Bean Salad with Sweet Pepper, Fresh Herbs, Toasted Hazelnuts, Kalamata Olives & Goat Cheese
One of the advantages of teaching a cooking class or having friends for dinner, I’m driven to perfect unfamiliar recipes. So, there I was with a Mediterranean Green Bean Salad on the upcoming class menu, and only had a recipe to try from the cookbook of a famous chef (who will remain anonymous).
The first try following the recipe exactly was way less than okay. After the second try, even with a number of adjustments, this recipe just didn’t work for me.
I needed to rethink the recipe. I’d keep the green beans, sweet peppers and herbs but change out the dressing and increase the “add-ins.” Yay, the third time hit all the right notes. Clean, crisp, fresh, herbal and bright. Each bite a delight. And yet, maybe it would benefit from some orange zest and juice. And so it did. And so it is. Beautiful, healthy and delicious.
Roast and rub hazelnuts
Hazelnuts have a thin brown and slightly bitter skin. For their buttery flavor to come through, do try to rub off much of that papery skin.
- After roasting, immediately wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel.
- Let the nuts sit in the towel for at least 20 minutes to cool.
- Then, while the nuts are still in the towel, use your hands to rub the hazelnuts together to remove the skin.
Why this works:
- When the nuts are heated, they expand.
- When the nuts have time to cool, they contract.
- It is the contraction that separates the nuts from their skin, allowing the skin to more easily rub away.
Mediterranean Green Bean Salad with Sweet Pepper, Fresh Herbs,
Hazelnuts, Kalamata Olives & Goat Cheese
Have fun improvising with this Mediterranean Green Bean Salad. Add or substitute cooked sugar snap peas, snow peas or even broccoli florets. Feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts, walnuts or pistachios would all be tasty additions. As would pomegranate arils (seeds), during the fall and winter months when they are in season.
Makes 4 entrée servings; 6-8 side-salad servings Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total Time 40 minutes
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon thinly sliced shallot
1 teaspoon homemade mustard or other country-style mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 twists freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
¼ cup hazelnuts
1 sweet red, yellow or orange bell pepper
¼ teaspoon olive oil
Large pinch of salt
10 ounces fresh green beans
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup thinly-sliced scallions
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
¼ cup pitted, quartered Kalamata olives
¼ cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
- Begin preparing the dressing. Combine the thinly-sliced shallot, mustard and vinegars in a 1- cup jar with a tight-fitting lid. Having this mixture sit at room temperature while you prepare the salad ingredients mellows the shallot’s sharpness.
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a towel. Roll them up and set them aside.
- Raise the oven to 475 degrees. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the seeds and core from the bell pepper. Slice the pepper into ¼-inch strips. Transfer the pepper strips to the parchment paper. Toss them with ¼ teaspoon olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast them in the oven for 10 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and set them aside to cool.
- Trim the stem end from the green beans. Cut the beans in half. Add the beans to the boiling water along with the ¼ teaspoon salt. Begin timing the beans when the water returns to a boil. Check them at 6 minutes. They should be both crisp and tender. (My last two batches of beans took 9 minutes each.) When done, immediately refresh them in a bowl of ice water. When cold, drain the beans. Roll them up in a towel to dry.
- Rub the hazelnuts together in their towel to remove much of the papery skin. Coarsely chop them.
- Combine the green beans and roasted peppers in a medium bowl along with the scallions, herbs, cheese and Kalamatas.
- Add the orange zest, orange juice and olive oil to the jar with the shallots. Tightly close the lid. Shake the jar until the dressing thickens.
- Just before serving add the hazelnuts and dressing to the salad ingredients. Toss together, adjusting the salt and pepper to taste.