Hazelnuts and green beans adorning the Thanksgiving table is a given. But in summer? Not usually the first thought. There are three excellent reasons why this makes a fantastic summer dish:
1) It's picnic perfect.
- Stick in the freezer for a few hours and it can withstand an afternoon at the beach. By the time your stomach is ready, it will have reached a perfect temperature. And no creamy dressing or bacon makes it sun-safe and won't frighten your bikini-clad companions.
- Summer is witness to an abundance of almond-focused dishes. Any why not? They are great with fruit, grilled fishes, and so on. Yet health wise, hazelnuts pack in just as much good stuff as their almondy counterparts. While there are many dangers of the summer, what with sharks and UV rays, finding oneself in an almond-rut should also be warned against. The prevention: from time to time, reach for hazelnuts.
- Self-explanatory. Yes, both produce the kitchen heat required for a boiling pot of water, but these babies only take 3 minutes to boil. Compared to an 8-11 minute spaghetti al dente time, the choice is clear. And, um, these guys are vegetables!
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Recipe: Green Bean and Hazelnut Salad
Serves 2 as a light lunch / 4 as a side
Large bunch Italian flat green beans (or any local bean)
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts - no skins
1 1/2 Tb butter
2 Tb olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp grainy mustard
1) Chop beans into 1 inch bites, boil in a large pot of salted water for about 3 minutes. Strain out beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
2) While beans are cooking, heat a dry cast iron on medium and toast the chopped nuts a few minutes. Add the butter, then the chopped shallot. Cook a few minutes until softened.
3) In a cup, mi together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Whizz together (or stir with a fork til your wrist hurts.) Add all together in a big bowl. Chill 20 minutes before serving.