Thursday, June 25, 2009

164. Green Bean Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dressing (p. 143)

When my sister was little, she hated green beans. She'd do anything she could to avoid eating them. I don't know if she's changed her view on green beans now that she's an adult. If not, this recipe might just bring her around.

What makes this salad so special is the dressing. The Book calls it "Mexican Pesto." The key ingredient in the dressing is green pumpkin seeds. First, I toasted the seeds in a dry skillet for a few minutes. I set aside a handful of the seeds for a garnish, and whizzed up the rest with some extra-virgin olive oil, water, fresh lemon juice, garlic, ground cumin, and fresh cilantro. The result is a surprisingly smooth, creamy and delicious dressing.

Next, I cooked some fresh green beans in some salted, boiling water for a few minutes until just tender (don't let them get mushy!). The Book says to drain the beans and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. I drained them and ran them under cold water instead and I think that it worked just as well. I let the beans drain completely and I dabbed them with some paper towels to get rid of any extra moisture.

I tossed the beans with some of the dressing, spread them out in a dish, arranged some tomato wedges on top, and drizzled on the remaining dressing and sprinkled some chopped cilantro and the reserved pumpkin seeds on top.

I really liked this salad. First, it was a really attractive dish. The bright green and red colors are very appealing. Next, the flavor was excellent. The beans were crisp and fresh tasting. The dressing was creamy and delicious. The combination of the garlic, lemon and cumin is really nice, and the pumpkin seeds are a very mild component ... very similar to the pine nuts that, according to The Book, are an acceptable substitute.

Date Cooked: June 13, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

1 comment:

SusanME said...

I can say that I indeed still DO NOT eat green beans. I have been told I am missing something by not trying fresh green beans but I still can't get that salty, tinny taste of Del Monte green beans out of my head when I think about giving them another chance.