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Monday, December 26, 2011

[Green beans and watercress salad] Refreshing sidedish for Holiday luncheon

First of all,
Happy Boxing day!!
Hope you had a great Christmas!
We had a wonderful white Christmas in Ottawa :)
I made so much food, and Mr. D is complaining there is no space for anything in the fridge, all because of leftover food :(
But, I still like cooking lots of food for holidays you know.

One of the dishes I made, as usual, yesterday was Green beans and watercress salad.

If I have to pick one green beans recipe,
I would have a hard time choosing one out of so many great green beans recipes, but may end up picking Green beans and watercress salad with shallots.
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living, but I've used my "killer dressing" recipe. :)

Have you tried watercress? If you didn't, you really should try this pleasantly different plant which leaves slightly bitter taste on your tongue.

My killer dressing recipe is pretty simple, but really really good.
This is a recipe from Marie, a nice sweet elderly lady who came to prepare a modest Wednesday dinner for nine of us plus our 18 guests (each of château-mates invited 2 guests).
Oh I should tell you my precious experience because I'll  mention it time to time.

I lived in a 16th century château or more precisely in an apartment of a subordinate tower of the château, while I was studying in France.

It was a very nice and lovely experience even though the apartment wallpaper was at least 150 years old :( and you need a 3-meter-long stick to open or close wooden window shutters because the the ceiling was 5m high)

Each of nice hosts paid 100 francs(yes, it was before Euro came on board) for 3 people, i.e. host + 2 guests for each Wednesday dinner. 100 francs is equivalent to $20 approx. So it was more than a reasonable price for 4-course-meal (appetizer, main, cheese(remember, that was in France where you can't skip cheese in a proper meal), and dessert)
We asked each guest to bring a bottle of "RED" wine, because nobody wanted to drink warm white wine, as we all agree :)

Marie's salad was not luxurious or anything, but it was simply scrumptious!!!
We all loved it. Of course did our guests too.
At my last Wendesday dinner, I asked Marie if she could share her superb dressing recipe.
She was so nice and generous that she gave me the recipe right then and there.
I've used the recipe for over 10 years.

That was a little bit of my story. :)

Here goes the recipe for Marie's killer salad dressing  and "Green beans and watercress salad"

Ingredients for Marie's Salad dressing
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup whit wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 shallot
salt & pepper 

Well, as you know there is not much instruction for a salad dressing recipe.

1. Chop shallot :)

 2. Mix all the ingredients except shallot

3. Add chopped shallot and taste.
 Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

** This recipe is foregiving. You can add or reduce the amount of olive oil and vinegar.
The above ratio is optimal to my palate :) 

Try it. It's very very good.

Now, you need ingredients for Green beans and watercress salad with fried shallots.

1 pound green beans
1/4-1/3 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower
4-5 shallots

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 bunch watercress (8 ounces), tough stems removed
Coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 - 1/3 cup dressing (*see above)

How to make:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook green beans in boiling water until bright green. It takes about 3-4 minutes.

2. Cool green beans completely in a bowl of icy cold water, then pat dry.

 3. Slice shallots into rings.

Mandoline, if you have one, will make your work easier, but shallot is anyway not very hard to slice thinly.

In a small bowl, toss shallots with flour.

4. In a pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-low. Working in three batches,

Fry shallots in oil until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Transfer shallots to paper towels, and season generously with salt.
You may prepare crispy shallots a day before.

5. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing above.

6. Place watercress and green beans on a serving platter

, and drizzle with the dressing.

7. Serve sprinkled with fried shallots.

 It's really easy to make, isn't it? :)

I love this green beans salad recipe.
Hope you enjoy it too! Happy boxing day!

Green bean, Watercress salad with fried shallots


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