This recipe was in the Thanksgiving issue of my Bon Appetit magazine. I was in charge of a side for the big day and figured I'd give it a try, along with the maple-braised butternut squash with fresh thyme. I know they say not to try new recipes for such a big day... but after looking at the ingredients and making it in my mouth... I knew they'd both be awesome. And they were. They're both super easy and super healthy.
The very first time I make a recipe I follow it exactly, then as I make it more often I play with it a bit. What's here is the exact and in parenthesis is my additions. It's so easy and so, so yummy.
By-the-way, can I just say how much I love bon appetit? When I first got into cooking Shayne got me a subscription. I thought it was mighty sweet and very ambitious of him to do so. But he had more faith in me then I had in myself at that time... and I'm glad he did. I never thought that I would have actually cooked stuff out of it... I just thought it'd be some good eye candy for me. So, thanks Babe - for believing in me!
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup... and next time I'll try my oil-free substitute)
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (agave nectar)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
1/3 cup dried tart cherries (craisins are just as good in this)
1 1/2 pounds trimmed slender green beans
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. (I like to blend in my blender so it's more of a dressing and I don't have chunks of cherries/craisins) DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.
Fill large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. (I do it for 5-8 minutes since I don't really like my beans crispy) [For crisp-tender vegetables, boil them quickly, then dump them into a bowl of ice water. The rapid boil cooks the veggies just enough; the ice water stops the cooking and intensifies the color of the vegetables.] Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.
Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.