Now I am in trouble...
My mother-in-law has a limited repetoire of dishes, but they are all considered classics within the family. Therefore, I screw with them not.
Or at least we don't talk about it.
Or we didn't.
Until Fun Daddy spilled the beans last night. Literally.
See one of those classic dishes is the green bean salad. The recipe was originally that of Fun Daddy's Boma. Everyone spoke highly of it... but especially when Boma made it. But, she passed away in 1991. Since then, the salad has been the sole domain of my MIL and it is lovely and tasty.
She hand frenches green beans (haricots vertes) from the market... cooks them, drains them, cools them, adds chopped shallots and parsley and then dresses them with a vinagrette of white vinegar and olive oil. It really is quite tasty.
Over the past six months or so I have been goofing around with the recipe. Why? Because I can and that is what I do.
First I cheat by buying frozen frenched green beans. Frenching them by hand, while an act of love, is not something I would put my time into. Instead of simmering, I blanche the beans... not so much that they are the greenish grey of a canned green bean, but the bright and crunchy green that says, "Wow! See how fresh I am?" (please note that Boma's beans were also unmercifully cooked as well... and NO. I am not speaking ill of the dead, but of the dead's food... slightly different, I believe).
After blanching them, the beans are immediately plunged into a bowl of ice cold water...Yes, I have THAT much ice these days...no more running the cold water for me! This stops the cooking process and keeps the color of the vegetables.
I throw the finished vegetables into a bowl and add chopped shallots (or green onions, or red onions, or yellow onions... you get the idea), the chopped parsley and then toss on my own home-made vineagrette which tends to vary but generally includes:
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. Sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar or verjus work too, I prefer the oomph of the sherry)
a pinch of french thyme
some garlic powder,
sea salt and black pepper to taste
and 3T. olive oil.
These go into a covered jar and are shaken until emulsified.
Pour over the beans and toss... serve immediately before the vinegar start changing the color of the beans and making them look grey as if I had cooked them for a hour anyway!)
Personally, I like my version better. But I would never say that... it isn't nice to top your hostess... Not that this stopped Fun Daddy. Sigh.
No wonder the woman never eats anything that I cook.