Speedy, Simple Sides Part II: The Green Beans

A perky, fast holiday salad.

Creamy, cheesy green bean casserole is the stuff of comfort and tradition.

But for a lighter, contemporary California take, try this crisp, tangy “Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots.”

It’s from “Heart of the Artichoke” (Artisan), the newest cookbook by David Tanis, long-time chef at Berkeley’s landmark Chez Panisse.

I dunno about you, but at holiday tables so laden with a multitude of rich, buttery dishes, I always welcome having something bright, fresh and assertively zingy as a contrast.

This salad is all that and more — the crunch of slender green beans and the fruity twang of sherry vinegar. Plus, it takes no time to whip up. You can cook the beans and prepare the shallots ahead of time. Then, just before you sit down to dinner, toss them all together and serve in a pretty bowl.

Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots

(Serves 4 to 6)

3 large shallots

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 pounds small green beans, topped and tailed

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon finely slivered chives

Peel the shallots and slice crosswise. Put them in a small bowl, season well with salt and pepper, and add vinegar. Let sit for a half hour.

Boil green beans in a large pot of salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until just past crunchy. Spread them out to cool. Just before you serve the salad, put green beans in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Whisk olive oil into shallots and vinegar, then add dressed shallots to the beans. Toss well, transfer to a platter or serving bowl, and sprinkle with chives.

From “Heart of the Artichoke” by David Tanis

Yesterday: Speedy, Simple Sides Part I: The Mushrooms

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