It’s been some time since I’ve added anything to these pages but I’m back. After all, you didn’t think you’d be lucky enough to get through the entire summer without my virtual smiling face on your computer screens, did you?
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. It’s been a busy one on this side of the internet with lots of things happening all at once. (On that note, thank you for the emails checking in during my absence. It was great to hear from everyone and I sincerely appreciate the sentiments and concern. Thank you.)
Not only has it been a busy summer but it’s been a very hot one too! So, I can’t wait to tell you about the salad in today’s post – it’s cool and refreshing, the perfect foil to steamy summer days – but first a little detour…
As I mentioned, there is a lot going on. Chief among them is that I am now a gypsy. A number of months ago, I moved out of my home and started the process of purchasing a new home. Sounds great? Well, hold off on any congratulations, cause there’s a wrinkle (why are there always wrinkles?).
Although I went into contract on the seemingly complete place in December of last year, it is still not ready to be occupied. Evidently, we’re waiting on final approval from the NYC Building Department. It’s been a long, grueling process. Frankly, the whole things makes me long for the days when a strategically placed envelope stuffed with cash could magically open the doors to passing a city inspection. Evidently, New York City government and inspectors are now corruption-free (just my luck).
So, now I’m a nomad – roaming from one short-term place to another, waiting for the day that I can move into my new home (and get back to keeping these pages regularly updated). So, if you are walking around NYC and you see a visibly lost man wandering around with suitcases, a white Kitchen Aide mixer and a cooler filled with homemade smoked meats, don’t be afraid stop and say hi.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the Green Bean-Citrus Salad with Dill Pesto. This dish was kind of an accidental discovery. It was Sunday. It was a hot hot New York summer day. No one wanted to leave the comfort (and AC) of home. So, Robert (my talented, best BF in the world, BF) cobbled together this dish from remnants that were in the kitchen.
There was dill and parsley in the fridge and cashews in the pantry…the idea of a pesto was born. There were green beans from the previous night’s dinner. There was ricotta salata for creaminess and salt. There were oranges– which is all we needed to add a little brightness and acid to the dish.
And shock beyond shock, we absolutely loved it! It’s a great balance of flavors. And especially delish when served ice cold. Refreshing, light and bright.
NOTE: Since first making this dish, we’ve tested out a variation using diced roasted beets. It was even better. The beets added a layer of yummy sweetness that helped to round out the sharpness of the oranges. And it was pretty!
GREEN BEAN-CITRUS SALAD & DILL PESTO
1 TSP salt
½ pound fresh green beans, washed with stem ends removed
½ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 TBL fresh chives, roughly chopped
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup walnut halves
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large oranges
½ cup (or more) ricotta salata, crumbled with your fingers
Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 7-8 minutes. Drain well; cool immediately in iced water to stop the cooking process. Once, beans are chilled drain well, pat dry with a paper towel and set aside in a large bowl.
In the bowl of a food processor, add dill, parsley, chives, cheese, walnut halves and garlic and process until all ingredients are finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and blend until incorporated. Set aside.
Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Carefully, remove individual orange segments with a knife. Cut each segment in half. Before discarding the orange membranes, squeeze them over the bowl of green beans to extract their juice.
In large bowl containing green beans, add half of the dill pesto, orange segments and ricotta salata. Toss to incorporate. To suit your taste, add more dill pesto and/or crumbled ricotta salata.
Chill salad to allow the flavors to meld together.
Serves 4 (as a side).