green bean salad
makes about 4 servings
1 pound green beans or haricot vert (skinny ones)
1/2 a fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound)
1 stalk celery, trimmed
1/2 medium red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (use less if you’re using Morton or table salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) whole almonds
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Slice half of the fennel bulb, the celery and the half onion into very thin slices. To keep the fennel from browning, and to add a little extra flavor, you can toss it in lemon juice.
Whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Make sure to use a small bowl so the onions will submerge in the mixture. Add the sliced onions to the mixture and let sit. At first, not all the onions were submerged, so I tossed them about every 30 minutes to insure they would all pickle. Eventually they reduced and this was no longer a problem. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes, but really as long as you can because they get better the longer they sit.
While the onions are sitting, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Trim and tail the green beans and boil until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes for regular green beans and about 3 minutes for skinny ones (“haricot vert”). Plunge in an ice water bath, then drain and pat dry. (If you want to skip the ice water bath, take the green beans out a full minute early because they will continue to cook as they cool).
To save a little time, put almonds in a 400º oven (they can toast while you chop). When you start to smell them toasting, take them out immediately because they will burn quickly. Once cool, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and then cut each almond into halves or thirds.
Now put everything together. Add most of the fennel, all of the celery and half of the pickled red onions to the green beans and toss. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the red onion pickling liquid and two tablespoons of olive oil over the mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again. Adjust seasonings and ingredient levels to your preferences.
Serve and enjoy at room temperature or chilled!