Green Bean Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Tossed with a Dijon mustard and sherry vinaigrette, these beans boast bright, zesty flavor.

Ingredients:
1½ pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup toasted almonds, sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Boil a large pot of water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the green beans and cook until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Transfer to a serving bowl.

2. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Drizzle over the green beans.

3. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Charred Romano Bean Salad

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

Ingredients:
1 pound Romano 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 chevre 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 Romano beans and cook at a rapid boil until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to an ice bath, then dry on a kitchen towel.

3. Add the 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 chevre and almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cherry-Rhubarb Polenta Cake

Our spin on the cheery Italian-style torta di polenta cake featured in Edible Seattle magazine.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup baker’s or granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon flour, for coating the pan
2 cups almond flour
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of ½ orange
Zest of 2 oranges
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons almond slivers, for garnish

Method:
1. In a bowl, mix rhubarb and cherries with turbinado sugar. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature, or until all the sugar is dissolved.

2. Preheat oven to 325°. Using wrappers from the butter, grease then flour a 9-inch cake pan and cut a circular piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom. (A springform pan is ideal for this recipe, but if you don’t have one, slide two extra thin strips of parchment underneath lining, leaving excess on both sides. This will create ‘handles’ to help you pull out the cake once it is finished.)

3. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the softened butter and baker’s/granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes at medium speed). Stir in the almond flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time, until batter is airy and soft. With a large spoon, fold in vanilla extract, orange juice and zest. Add polenta, baking powder and salt, folding in gently. Fold cardamom gently in as well.

4. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Take one cup of the marinated rhubarb and cherries out of their syrup and drain on a paper towel. Press piece gently into the batter and scatter almonds over top. Set cake pan on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the cake set in the middle and deep golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes. Gently remove from pan and leave on a wire rack to cool.

5. Cook the remaining rhubarb and cherries over medium-low heat until liquid has reduced and is thick and syrupy. Serve over finished cake with fresh cream, ice cream or crème fraîche.

Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Morel Mushrooms & Almond-Parsley Gremolata

A fresh blend of parsley, garlic, almonds and red pepper flakes adds big flavor to grilled asparagus stalks.

Ingredients:
2 pounds jumbo asparagus, trimmed of any tough ends
¼ cup blanched whole almonds
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Morel mushrooms, sautéed in 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Method:
1. Set a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add almonds and toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Let cool to room temperature, then chop finely.

2. In a small bowl, combine chopped almonds, chopped parsley, grated garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.

3. Set a grill cooking grate in place, cover the grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. While the grill is preheating, place asparagus in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, coating evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add asparagus to grill and cook, turning occasionally, until well charred and tender, about 6 minutes total depending on the thickness of the stalks. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and spoon the prepared gremolata and sautéed Morel mushrooms over the top. Serve immediately.

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