Like many of you I’ve been thinking of what to serve as side dishes for Thanksgiving this year. I’m in the mood for fresher, more modern sides that compliment the turkey and not add any more richness than necessary to the meal - more 21st century if you will. Two of my favorite bloggers have inspired my green bean dish.
Cathy at Wives with Knives posted a very attractive haircots verts salad with hazelnuts and gorgonzola tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, recipe here, that can be served at room temperature. If you’re like me and have a hard time finding hazelnuts and often skip them because of that reason, Cathy’s Bavarian Nut Company now sells hazelnuts on line here, so consider that problem solved.
Joan at Foodalogue made-over the old 1950’s green bean casserole made with mushroom soup & topped with fried onions with a very inspired Italian green bean and porcini mushrooms dish with Parmesan Béchamel, recipe here. She creatively topped it with fried spaghetti to replace the standard canned onions. I know you will love both dishes.
Here’s my take on Thanksgiving green beans this year– crispy green beans & meaty oyster mushrooms tossed with a tangy shallot & nut oil vinaigrette and garnished with toasted walnuts. As Cathy said, a salad can be made in advance and that is a real plus at Thanksgiving when every available burner on your stove is prime real estate.
The nut oil vinaigrette is one of our favorite vinaigrettes and is fabulous tossed with baby greens and garnished with blue cheese crumbles. And it’s another reason to have a bottle of sherry vinegar on hand.
We will be guests this year for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of my brother-in-law, who is a diabetic. I always make sure I take at least one dish that suits his diet. It’s just the nice thing to do as a guest don’t you think? There’s no reason to save this salad for Thanksgiving. It’s perfect any time of the year and can easily be doubled and tripled for a crowd.
Green beans and oyster mushrooms tossed with a walnut oil vinaigrette
From My Carolina Kitchen – serves 4 to 6 – easily doubled
1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed
¼ pound fresh oyster mushrooms, stems removed, gills cleaned if necessary, torn or cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dry sherry
A handful of walnuts as a garnish, optional but delicious
Nut oil vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons peeled & minced shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons walnut or hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other neutral flavored oil such as canola
Maldon salt or other coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salt water to boil over high heat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the trimmed & sliced mushrooms. Stir the mushrooms frequently while cooking. When the mushroom liquid has evaporated completely, cook another minute or two to brown slightly. Off of the heat, add the sherry and stir. Return to the heat, stir well for a moment, then turn off the heat and leave the mushrooms to rest in the skillet for now.
Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake well and set aside.
Drop beans into boiling water, cover, and bring the water back to a boil. When water returns to a boil, remove the cover and turn heat down to medium and cook until beans are crispy tender, about 7 minutes, depending on the size of your beans. Drain beans well, place in a large bowl, and toss with the vinaigrette, a little bit at a time, tasting while you go, over the still warm green beans. You will probably have some vinaigrette left over, which will keep well in the covered jar in the refrigerator for another green salad.
In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly to prevent burning. Continue to toast the nuts until they begin to brown and become fragrant. Remove the nuts to a cutting board, allow to cool slightly, then chop very coarsely and set aside.
Add mushrooms to the beans and toss well. Taste for seasonings. Pile high on a platter and garnish with the toasted walnuts if desired. Can be served right away or at room temperature.
Thank each of you that participated in the cookbook giveaway. The winner of Foolproof by Ina Garten is Ocean Breezes & Country Sneezes. The winner of Savoring the Hamptons is Savoring Time in the Kitchen. Congratulations to you both. Please contact me at samhoffer (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address.