Monday, December 31, 2012

Green Beans and Celery with Parmesan, Walnuts and Homemade Croutons

Happy New Year!

Please forgive me as I forgive myself for failing to keep on top of this blog.  As soon as September hit, I found myself spending any free time I had on preschool selections for my twins in San Francisco.   My applications have been sent and fingers are crossed we get some good news come March.

Tonight is New Year's Eve and while many of you may be heading out to celebrate, we have decided to stay in, light a fire and enjoy some good food along with some celebratory wine.  This recipe was crafted after finding some beautiful looking green beans and celery at the farmers market.  Besides fennel and pomegranates this was all that looked good this time of year.    I tried one of Heidi Swanson's dressings tweaked a bit from her famous website.

Here is what you will need:

1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup Chalone or Moscato / sweet white wine

1 lb green beans chopped into 1/4 inch pieces parboiled in a pot of salted water for 1 minute.  Drain and immerse immediately into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
3 stalks of celery sliced razor thin (use a mandolin if you have one)

3/4 cup toasted walnut halves
4 slices rustic bread torn into bite sized pieces tossed with 2 tablespoons olive oil and baked in a 350 degree oven for 10 - 15 minutes tossing 1/2 way through.

Parmesan cheese shavings


yolk of one hard-boiled egg
3 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream (I ended up using goat kefir as it was all I had on hand)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Place the raisins in a bowl with the wine and soak for at least 2 hours or overnight.  If you don't have any sweet wine on hand you can omit and soak the raisins in hot water at least 45min prior to plump them up.

For the dressing, mash the egg yolk with the cream fraiche and slowly add the olive oil beating continuously.  It should be glossy and smooth.  Whisk in the vinegar then the salt. Taste and adjust if needed.

Just before serving, drain the raisins and toss with the celery and green beans.  Pour on 1/2 of the dressing and toss with half of the toasted walnuts.  Taste and add more dressing if you want.   Add most of the croutons and a few shavings of parmesan cheese and toss again.  Top with the remaining walnuts, croutons and a few more shavings of parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 - 6

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