Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chilled Cilantro Green Bean Salad with Almonds

East meets West in this lovely cold green bean salad.  With the scortching hot days we've been having, I've little desire to stand around in my kitchen.  Perhaps I'd have a different view if the overworked window unit actually had any affect in our house on days like this.  But until the luxury of central air is added to our home, I've little choice but to endure the heat.

One of the joys of this salad is the short amount of time needed over a heating element.  Only a quick blanch in boiling water.  Toss with the other ingredients and serve. Think of is as a chilled green beans almondine with a ginger sot dressing and generous helping of cilantro.  Asian-influenced green beans?  Ginger-soy dressings? I do seem to repeat myself, don't I?

recipe courtesy of NPR

serves 4-6

The Ingredients:
1 lb slender green beans

1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
2-3 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal (use both white and green parts)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

for the dressing:
2 inch piece of fresh ginger,  minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

The Process:
Wash the green beans and trim away the stem ends

Prep an extra large bowl or the basin of the sink with cold water and 1-2 dozen ice cubes.   Set a colander near at hand.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.  Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the beans and cook briefly: 1 or 2 minutes for thin haricots, 4 or 5 minutes for more mature beans.  Once the beans turn vibrant green but are still firm, drain quickly into a colander.  Immediately submerge the colander into the ice bath to shock the green beans, preventing them from cooking further.   Agitate them briefly to evenly chill (about a minute). Remove the colander from the ice bath and allow to drain. 

Once the beans have drained, slice them on the diagonally into 1  to 1-1/2 inch pieces

To prepare the dressing, pound the ginger and garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle.  Or mince them together as finely as you can, and mash with the side of a chef's knife or the back of a spoon.   Add to a large bowl and whisk in the oil, vinegar,and soy sauce.. Add the blanched beans, scallions and cilantro; toss to coat. Sprinkle with almonds.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

The Review:
After many a hot green bean dish, this salad was a treat.  Slightly blanched beans are incredibly sweet and still hold onto their amazing crispness.  Too often have I bit into an overcooked bean and lamented the lack of that pleasant snap.  Watch them beans, particularly thin fresh ones, take little more than a blink of an eye to cook.

Another concern...toss the beans only immediatley before serving.  I learned this the hard way from a three bean salad.  Three hours after prepping the salad, the taste was still fresh and fragrant, but the green beans had turned a unappetizing shade of olive from soaking too long in the vinegar.  Lesson learned.

This salad did not last long at all.  I hope yours is equally as successful!


  1. Mmmmm...this sounds like a perfect summer side dish! I need to pick up some fresh green beans this week :)

    1. The green beans are plentiful by us this year. I hope you enjoy!