There is a special place in my heart for creamy green bean casserole. The kind with the canned crunchy fried onions, and the canned cream of mushroom soup. You know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t you should try it at least once. But sometimes that Thanksgiving meal can be a little heavy on the creamy casseroles and you want (and likely need) something light and refreshing in the mix to balance things out. This salad is a delicious way to provide some balance in your meal while still keeping is special.
Something about the combination of warm toasted pecans, tangy sweet cranberries and robust blue cheese just sings of the season we’re entering. The weather is cooler and richer flavors are in order. Although, I’d eat this salad in the summertime with no problem.
You can serve these as lovely first course salads on individual salad plates, or arrange them on a large platter and allow guests to serve themselves. The bibb lettuce leaves hold up well, so there’s little need to worry about them tearing, unless they’ve been sitting too long so don’t prepare them all the way too far in advance. If you’re really needing this to be a quick and painless salad you can tear up a bunch of bibb lettuce, toss in the dressed beans, cranberries, blue cheese and pecans and serve this as a large serve-yourself salad. You might want to double the dressing if you plan to serve it that way, though.
You can cook the beans up to 2 days ahead and keep them in the fridge. The beans also hold up well in the fridge after being dressed, so you can prepare them up to that point hours ahead of time, but not longer than a day. Mix in the cranberries, but not the blue cheese or pecans, they’ll get soggy if they sit too long. Sprinkle on the blue cheese and pecans right before serving.
I tend to under-dress salads when serving them to a group. I hesitated to add all the dressing to the beans, but it was the perfect amount. There’s just enough that drips off onto the lettuce.
Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries
From Fine Cooking
- 1/2 pound haricots verts (french green beans) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 6 large bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain the beans, then plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, pat dry and move to a bowl. If making ahead, place beans in an airtight container and put them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard and olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Toss beans and cranberries in the dressing to coat evenly. You can refrigerate the beans at this point for up to 1 day.
- To serve: divide beans evenly among the lettuce leaves and sprinkle each with pecans and blue cheese.