Courtyard in Provence
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Tarragon Green Bean
make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomat - the problem is entirely
same in both cases. To know how much oil to mix in with one's vinegar."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Tarragon Green Bean Salad
Patricia Wells at Home
in Provence: Recipes Inspired
by Her Farmhouse in France
(James Beard Foundation Award Winner)
Patricia Wells, 1996, Scribner
“When tiny fresh green beans – haricots verts – are
in the market, I can’t get
enough of them. Sometimes I’ll serve them several nights running, often with
a simple grilled salmon or seared swordfish. I prize the combination of
picked tarragon, a touch of lemon, a whisper of cream – ingredients that
seem delighted to be in the company of crisp, tender green beans.”
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
3 shallots, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound (500 g) young, tender green beans
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
4 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves,
snipped with a scissors
1. Fill a large pot with 3 quarts (3 l) of water and bring to
a boil over
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and a pinch
salt. Whisk in the shallots and cream. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
3. Rinse the beans and trim both ends. Cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths.
4. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
5. When the water has come to a boil, add the coarse sea salt and beans.
Boil, uncovered, until the beans are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the
Immediately drain the beans and plunge them into the ice
water so they cool
down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool
in 1 to 2 minutes, After
that, they will begin to lose flavor.) Transfer
the beans to a colander,
drain, and wrap
in a thick towel to dry. (The
beans can be cooked up to 2 hours in advance.
Keep them wrapped
in the towel and refrigerate, if desired.)
6. If the beans are refrigerated, bring them to room temperature before
serving. To serve, taste the dressing for seasoning. Transfer the
beans to a
bowl, pour the dressing over the beans, and toss to coat
evenly. Add the
minced tarragon and toss to blend. Taste for sea-
soning. Serve immediately.
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