Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Green Vegetable Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

I find that it is so much more enjoyable to eat vegetables when they are doused in cream. Undoubtedly, this is why I love this salad as much as I do. Apparently, this dish is reminiscent of a French salad of haricots verts and green hazelnuts but I so like the addition of peas and asparagus in all their green glory. As for the nuts, I just toast up some regular old hazelnuts and give them a chop.

I eat this all season long, changing the vegetable and herb combinations as the garden changes, adding in basil, some diced, grilled zucchini, a chopped tomato, or making it with just peas. The basic premise always remains the same: seasonal green veg, delicious creamy goodness, chopped toasted hazelnuts.

This serves about 8 as a side dish:

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • The zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 pound haricots verts (thin green beans)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 bunch of pencil-thin asparagus
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts

In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, lemon juice and zest, milk, and chopped herbs. Add a couple pinches of salt and taste, adjusting accordingly. Cover the dressing and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day ahead.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast for 5 minutes. Give the pan a shake and depending on how they look, toast them for about 2-3 minutes more. Once they are cool, rub them with a towel that you don't care about to remove their skins, coarsely chop, and set aside.

In a large pot, heat some salted water until it boils. Cut the haricots verts in half. Snap the ends off the asparagus, cut them into 3-inch lengths and set aside. Add the haricots verts to the water. Cook for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and peas to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes more*. Drain in a colander, and pour the vegetables into a bowl filled with ice water. Once cool, drain again.

Place the vegetables in a serving dish and spoon the dressing over the top. Sometimes, I toss the vegetables with the dressing before serving it, and other times, I just spoon it over. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top and serve.

*If you are using fresh peas, they will have to be boiled for longer.


Robert W said...

Whoa!!! Oh so simple, but oh so delicious. I could see myself eating this as a snack or as an entire meal. Thanks Erin!!!

Brenda said...

This looks amazing! Why didn't I have this for Easter???

Unknown said...

We DID have this for Easter!!! THANKS Crafty Lass for bringing it. Yes - it tastes as good as it looks and is certainly better than your regular old side dish. It also stores nicely in the fridge and is just as good the next day.

Anonymous said...

when cream mixes with green vegetable it's delicious. i love to have it, a creamy starter to have.


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