Food & Wine (November 2012)
There are a number of different reasons we might pick a Thanksgiving recipe.
Maybe it's a combination of flavors we'd never thought of before, or a technique we haven't tried. Maybe it sounds like such a perfect preparation of a classic Thanksgiving dish that we can't wait to dig in.
Truth be told, we made these green beans for one reason and one reason only: You don't have to cook 'em.
Okay, that's not entirely true. You do have to cook these beans, but we're referring to them as a dish you barely cook. The preparation can be done hours or a full day before the meal, with no need to reheat. But that wasn't the first thing that drew us to this dish -- the idea of two kinds of beans in a sharp vinaigrette sounded like a perfect dish to counter the richness of Thanksgiving.
This dish does require some legwork in advance -- two days before we served it, we soaked the white beans overnight. The next day, we simmered them for over an hour. We also whipped up the vinaigrette and stowed it in the fridge overnight.
On the day of the meal, you just blanch the haricots verts at some point in the morning. Once you're ready to serve the dish, simply toss the haricots verts with the drained white beans and the vinaigrette.
Literally, this dish is so simple we kept thinking we were missing a step.
The result? Marvelous. Even more than the creamed greens, these green beans added a jolt of freshness to the Thanksgiving plate -- they're crisp and green and, well, just great. The vinaigrette? Awesome. Really, it's just a standard shallot vinaigrette, but it is perfect. We'll be adding that to our arsenal for a number of salads and veggies in the future.
We were seduced by the thought of a nearly no-cook Thanksgiving side dish.
And this one lived up to every expectation.
- The top Thanksgiving trends for 2012
- Thanksgiving Recipe Index: Every dish recommended by food magazines this year
Total time: 2 hrs plus overnight soaking
Servings: 10 to 12
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY
- Lazy cooks alert! In order to save some time, we purchased pre-washed, pre-trimmed haricots verts at Whole Foods.
- If you plan to serve this dish at room temperature, as we did, make sure that those components that you make in advance (like the white beans and vinaigrette) are taken out of the fridge that morning so they can come up to room temperature before you serve them.
- If you're ready to serve the white beans but they're still cold from the fridge, we suggest you quickly warm them in the microwave or on a stove top.
2 cups dried white beans, such as cannellini, soaked overnight and drained
1 small onion, halved
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
2 pounds haricots verts, trimmed
2 large shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a large pot, cover the dried beans with 3 inches of water. Add the onion, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add more water as needed to maintain the water level. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and remove the pot from the heat. Let the beans cool in the cooking water.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the haricots verts until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans and spread them on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, mustard and both vinegars. Add a pinch of salt and let the vinaigrette stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Drain the dried beans and discard the onion, bay leaf and thyme. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and add the haricots verts. Add the vinaigrette and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
The dried beans can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated in their liquid overnight.