Veggie lover Clotilde Dusoulier (Chocolate & Zucchini) offers a "variety of vegetarian meals with a French accent and that sought-after Gallic je ne sais quoi" in her new cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. This summery salad is a perfect example of Dusoulier's masterful mixing of flavors.
Green Bean, Red Rice, and Almond Salad
Salade de haricots verts, riz rouge et amandes
Always on the lookout for tasty tricks for using leftover rice, I came up with this salad early one summer when I had a bag of the first haricots verts of the season, which I wanted to cook before they lost their youthful bounce, and a tub of cooked red rice from the night before. The result was this flavorsome salad, which has since become a fixture in my summer rotation. Red rice is a whole, or partially hulled, rice whose outer husk is dark red rather than the more common brown. It is very nutritious and I enjoy its nutty flavor as much as the color it brings to the plate. I use an organic red rice from the Camargue, a region in the southeast of France that’s wedged between the two arms of the Rhône river as it flows into the Mediterranean, an exceptionally rich and beautiful marshland, popular with flamingos, mosquitoes, and horses that roam around semi-freely.
- 2 pounds / 900 g haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons all-natural unsweetened almond butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups / 450 g cooked red rice or brown rice, cooled (from about 1 cup / 200 g uncooked rice)
- 2?3 cup / 85 g almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup / 20 g chopped fresh flat-leaf Parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Set up a steamer. Steam the green beans, tightly covered, until just cooked through but not limp, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. The beans can be cooked the day before.
2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.
3. Add the cooked beans and turn them gently in the dressing to coat. Stir in the rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The salad may be made a few hours in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate.
4. Just before serving, add the chopped almonds and parsley, sprinkle with black pepper, and toss to combine.
Look for slender haricots verts that feel firm to the touch and have no dark or discolored spots. The wispy little tail can be left on; only the stem end needs trimming and it should break off with a snap. Once trimmed, rinsed, and thoroughly dried, green beans can be packed in an airtight bag and placed in the freezer for later use. They can then be boiled or steamed directly, without thawing.
The flavor of nuts is significantly bolstered when they’re toasted. Preheat your oven to 350°F. / 175°C. Spread the nuts (shelled, but whole) on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the nuts in the oven, keeping a close eye on them, until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Exact timing depends on the size and moisture content of the nuts. Alternatively, nuts can be toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan regularly; this is more convenient for a small amount of nuts, but the result is less even.