One thing I have really enjoyed about the food in France is that no matter how simple the dish is it is always presented in an attractive manner. Many people in France eat their food in courses and the first course is often a vegetable salad. These salads are often salades composées -- composed salads where the vegetables are arranged attractively on the individual plate or platter. This green bean salad can easily fit into that category.
Whether you choose to arrange it or not, it is very tasty and a good way to use up some of those green beans coming from the garden. If we don't have fresh beans it is equally good using purchased frozen whole haricot verte or uncut green beans. They even sell them at Aldi now. This also makes a very pretty winter salad using the frozen beans and grape or cherry tomatoes.
I usually make at least a double batch of the dressing and keep it in a jar in the refrigerator to make throwing together this salad a snap.
Green Bean and Feta Salad
3-4 cups of fresh green beans (about 10-12 oz. frozen, or one bag)
1/4 cup chopped red onion (or 1 shallot)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
Tomato wedges or halved cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Cook beans in rapidly boiling water for 5 mins. They should still be crisp. Plunge into ice water and then drain. (This can easily be done a day or two ahead of time and the beans can be refrigerated.)
To make the vinaigrette combine all the ingredients except the oil then whisk in the oil slowly until the dressing is thickened and thoroughly blended. Combine the dressing with the beans and then place them on a platter or in individual portions on salad plates. Top with feta, minced red onion, and walnuts. Garnish the platter or plates with the tomatoes and then enjoy your colorful salad.
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