It’s the week before Christmas...and life begins to be a bit hairy-scary.
There’s a messy corner full of little shopping bags that need to be sorted out for wrapping and a basket containing odd baking ingredients–still unused–in the middle of the kitchen counter.
Unwritten cards and stacks of things-needing-to-be-done litter the desk while fancy cheese, bought for a party two weeks ago, is all of a sudden past its “BEST BY” date. As my mom always said, “Christmas comes no matter what.” Take heart. Instead of everything being done perfectly and on time, there is winter music….
…recitals with tiny Nutcracker ballerinas…
and moments when both dogs sit still at once.
Somewhere in there you’re supposed to be planning a holiday meal or have a vague idea about needing to bring a dish to someone’s house during the next seven days. When you do, try this easy festive platter of feisty green beans all dressed up for the party with pomegranate arils (seeds), toasted walnuts, and creamy goat cheese:
CHRISTMAS GREEN BEAN SALAD
No Pomegranate arils? Try tiny, chopped and seeded cherry tomatoes or minced sweet red pepper.
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 pounds trimmed green beans
- 1/2 onion, with peel, rinsed
- Olive oil
- Spicy Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, divided
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (seeds), divided
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) goat cheese, crumbled, divided
Bring a large pot of water boil; season it with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Add beans and onion and cook until beans are barely done. (If your beans are young and fresh, 4 minutes might be plenty. If they’re older and woody, a lot longer. Keep testing.) Drain, discarding onion or chopping it finely and adding it back into the beans. While beans are warm, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, taste, and adjust salt and pepper. Drizzle with three tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss, taste and adjust seasonings again. Gently stir in half of the walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese. Tip salad out onto a serving platter, drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and top with remaining walnuts, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. Serve immediately or cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to four hours. If chilled, add a little more vinaigrette before serving.
SPICY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 large shallot, peeled, and minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Hot sauce to taste (begin with 2 drops)
Whisk salt and pepper into vinegar and let rest a few minutes. Add shallot and whisk in Dijon mustard. Pouring slowly, whisk in oil until vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add hot sauce and adjust seasonings again.
Need more? Check out my MINESTRA MARITATA. First course for Christmas dinner. Post includes a gorgeous crostata for dessert!
Happy December, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. I hope your time is spent in ways you value and that love with peace surrounds you. I’m traveling this next bit, but will check in on the blog and will be thinking of you,