Charred Green Bean Salad

This simple, satisfying salad courtesy of chef Michael Symon always gets rave reviews!

Ingredients:
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sliced toasted almonds
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Prepare a grill for indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, build the hot coals on one side only. If using a gas grill, heat one side only to medium-high heat.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook at a rapid boil until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the green beans to an ice bath, then dry on a kitchen towel.

3. Add the green beans to a grill basket and place over indirect heat to char them slightly, about 5 minutes. You do not have to cover the grill. When they reach the char level you are looking for, transfer them to a serving platter.

4. Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard and oregano in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly, then season with salt and pepper. Pour the oregano vinaigrette over the green beans while still warm, then sprinkle with the feta and almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Apricots with Almond Whipped Cream

Drizzled with honey and topped with toasted almonds, these apricots are simply stunning for dessert.

Ingredients:
4 apricots, halved
1 teaspoon melted butter
3 teaspoons honey, divided
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
⅓ cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar

Method:
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat.

2. In a small dish whisk together the melted butter and a teaspoon of honey. Cut the apricots in half and brush the melted honey butter on the cut side.

3. Place the apricots cut side down onto the heated grill pan. Grill the apricots for about 2 minutes until softened and just slightly charred, and then remove and place them cut side up onto a plate.

4. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, add the whipping cream, almond extract, and powdered sugar and beat the whipped cream until stiff peaks form.

5. To serve, spoon about a tablespoon of the whipped cream on top of each apricot half, then sprinkle on the sliced almonds and drizzle on the remaining 2 teaspoons of honey.

Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad

Tossed with a sweet-tart citrus dressing, this salad is fresh and bright and pairs nicely with just about any main dish.

Ingredients:
1 large bunch Lacinato kale, greens removed from thick stems, washed and patted dry
1 cup slivered almonds
⅓ cup lemon juice
1½ cups olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
Sea salt

Method:
1. In a small skillet, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

2. In a bowl, combine the lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Using the flat side of a knife, crush the garlic cloves and add to the dressing, setting aside to steep.

3. Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the almonds. Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for both dressing and salt, adding more as needed. Serve within 1 hour.

Grilled Asparagus with Classic Gremolata

This healthy, easy dish is a classic way to serve asparagus in the Italian region of Lombardy—and it only takes a few minutes to put together.

Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped Meyer lemon zest
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method:
1. To make the gremolata, finely chop the garlic, parsley and lemon zest together on a cutting board until well combined. Transfer to a bowl. (You can prepare the gremolata an hour or two before you cook the asparagus.)

2. Steam or boil the asparagus in salted water until tender, four to five minutes. Remove from the heat, and toss with the gremolata. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix together the lemon juice and olive oil, and drizzle over the asparagus. Serve hot or warm.

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