Green Bean Salad

I’m not the biggest green salad fan (BO-ring) so I’m always on the lookout for interesting slash delicious ways to get my veg on. Don’t get me wrong — I like a great green salad now and then, but it’s just not my go-to, and if I DO go there, I need a lot of more interesting components (that means more than lettuce, tomato and cucumber, people. Yawn.), and dressing made from scratch (obviously). Anyway, this Green Bean Salad by Jamie Deen is pretty awesome — it’s got great acidity from the red wine vinegar, plus almonds for some crunch and some tangy feta…literally could make it a meal, it’s that good. I made this for a side with Couscous Stuffed Chicken Breast with Feta, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives, but it would be a perfect summer cookout recipe, or a great bring-something-to-a-friend’s-house dish since you don’t need it to be warm and it’s even better once everything marinates for a little while.

I used some awesome farmers market beans for this — both green, purple and yellow (though the purple ones lost their cool color in the cooking process…boo).

TW’s Tips

  • I’ve only got one tip: cut the green beans into one-inch pieces once you’ve cooked and cooled them — much easier to eat. And use the best, freshest beans you can find.

Green Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound slender green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spider to remove to a bowl of ice water. Drain well, pat dry and place the beans in a large bowl. Combine with the feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic and some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the green beans and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

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Slow-Roasted Spanish Olives with Oranges and Almonds

I’m going to let you in on a secret: quite possibly the most delicious olives you have ever tasted.
I haven’t always been a fan of olives. My parents have never really liked them, so it was one of those things we didn’t have in the house growing up. But my olive-loving friends converted me, and now I’ll eat them by the handful.

These are some fancy-looking olives, but they are SO easy to make. They’re perfect for a cocktail party, and I’ve made them for my best friend’s bridal AND baby shower, since she loved them so much. I’ll make them for myself as well, and keep them in the fridge to snack on. They are a Tyler Florence recipe — yet more evidence why I love that man.

Why are they so good? I think it’s the magic of slow roasting, which infuses the olives wtih the citrus flavor of the orange, the earthy thyme and a hit of spice from the red pepper, and makes them juicy and a little softer than normal. The sherry vinegar gives them the perfect acidic kick. The almonds are delicious, infused with olivey citrus flavor, and a great contrast to the olives themselves.

TW’s Tips

  • The recipe calls for mixing everything in a bowl, then pouring it into a baking dish. I just throw everything in the baking dish to begin with and mix it up. No extra dirty dishes!
  • I’ve had a hard time finding the specific types of olives that are called for in the recipe — but I’ve had great results just picking some of the green olives from the Whole Foods olive bar. Pick ones with pits, and not the ones that are stuffed with almonds or garlic or marinating in something weird that will throw off the flavors.
  • I take out the bay leaves and thyme stems before serving, as well as most of the oranges. But I leave a few because they give it some color.
  • These are best straight out of the oven. But they’re great either way. If you’re taking them out of the fridge, let them warm up to room temp before serving.

Slow-Roasted Spanish Olives with Oranges and Almonds

  • 2 pounds Spanish olives, such as manzanilla or gordal, with pits
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, sliced into 1/8-inch circles
  • 1 cup whole almonds, with skin
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 red chili pepper, halved lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the olives and the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours. Drain the oil out (keep it to use as a bread dip) and serve warm or at room temperature with assorted cheeses.