Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 lb fresh green beans
- 4 oz smoked chevre or soft goat cheese
- A handful of dried cherries
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
To Blanch the green beans:
- Begin by filling a large pot half way up with water or enough to cover the beans. Do not salt the water. Bring the water to a boil. While the water is heating, snap the stem end off the green beans. I like snapping them by hand but feel free to use a small knife. Fill a large bowl with ice water to create an ice bath for the green beans. Have it ready before adding the green beans to the boiling water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You want them crisp tender. Just this side of raw. Not mushy.
- The easiest way for me to quickly get them from boiling water into ice water is to pour the green beans into a large strainer in the sink and then transfer the beans to the ice bath. But you can also scoop them out of the boiling water with a handheld mesh strainer and transfer them into the ice bath. Let them sit in the ice bath for about 3-4 minutes and then drain. I like to lightly blot them dry so the vinaigrette will stick to the green beans.
- Salt and pepper the green beans and then arrange them on a platter. Drizzle the California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the green beans. Next sprinkle with crumbled chevre, the dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.
- Serve as a side dish with meat, poultry or seafood. This is also lovely as a main dish over a bed of mixed greens and a few more veggies, like pickled beets and roasted carrots. Enjoy!