September 7, 2011

Inspired by Ottolenghi’s french beans, hazelnut & orange salad

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Have I mentioned that amongst the cookbooks I have, one of the most valued ones is Ottolenghi, The Cookbook…along with his younger brother Plenty! :) I think there’s not one recipe from the book I’m not inspired by. Everything is so vibrant, the ingredient combinations are fantastic, the looks so appetising and colourful. For anyone who doesn’t know it I strongly recommend you flick through its pages just to get a feel of his philosophy of cooking. I got to know it through this post on Delicious Days featuring the almighty aubergine (probably my favourite ingredient) and decided to buy the book after a look at a few recipes. When it arrived and had a quick look at it…I didn’t know where to start, I wanted to have a go at everything!!!Still haven’t got around to visiting the “restaurants” but just to say that I just want to go to London to visit Ottolenghi! So, when I do get to do so, I will definately share the experience, which I am sure will live up to the expectations!

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Anyway, about this salad…this year Linguini decided to have a go at planting quite a few vegetables: various tomato varieties, courgette, butternut squash (from the seeds of one we ate and loved), peas and beans. Some have grown beautifully, others not quite as well! It’s such a pity after all the time and care that went into them, to watch how most of the beautiful pea plants after flowering begin to wilt irreversibly from a sun overdose. They are picky, those ones…we did get to try a few pods (five to be exact!)and they were just like candy, straight from the pod. The beans have done so-so, began growing at incredible speed and then some made it through, others weren’t so lucky. But we did get to pick 3 or 4 handfuls of them…

The moment I got the first one, I knew I had to try this salad, which from the moment I saw it I knew I’d love. And like every other recipe I have tried, it was just a perfect match of ingredients! The crunchy very lightly cooked fresh beans with the earthy flavour of the nuts and it’s oil and the citrus punch of the orange rind. All plainly seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and maldon salt…simple yet perfect. The original recipe also includes mangetout, which I love (I would have added them lightly sautéed rather than boiled) but having just Linguini’s tender beans at hand, I didn’t miss them. So, I’ve repeated the salad, with the last handful of beans, the late ones the plant still offered us, for you…and for us to enjoy again!Hope you like it too!

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French beans, hazelnut and orange rind salad (adapted from Ottolenghi)

400g of french beans

50g of hazelnuts

the rind of 1/4 of a large orange  (more or less to taste)

1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)

hazelnut oil* and olive oil (about half of each) to season to taste

freshly ground black pepper

maldon salt or another fleur de sel, ideally

(the original recipe also includes mangetout and some chives, which I skipped)

*This is the oil I used, From Percheron Frères, a fantastic brand, if you can find it.

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So, this salad is as simple as lightly boiling the beans (you can leave them whole or slice in two if you like them smaller) in plenty of unsalted water for about 3-5minutes,(more or less depending on how large the beans are) just enough time to retain a crunch and to plonge them in iced or running cold tap water to keep their vibrant green colour. Once cool, drain and dry.

For the hazelnuts, since I tried these unshelled hazelnuts from a trip to Asturias and realised the flavour and how well they keep, I do not buy shelled ones. So, that’s the only bit of work…worthwhile I find. So, just shell them and roast them in the oven, when ready, they peel very easily. Let them cool before mixing with the other ingredients.

Remove the orange peel in long thin strips (trying not to get any of the white skin, as it is bitter) or cutting it off before slicing finely.

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Finally, just mix, season with the oils, salt and pepper to taste and serve! If you are not going to serve right away, it’s best to keep the ingredients separate, so the hazelnuts retain their crunch, or at least to avoid seasoning until the last minute.

Con appétit!!!!

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

qur rico, que fresco, que sencillo... esa la he probado con judías de tu huerto! aquí las beans que se encuentran son una m grande! pero hummm, ahora estaba pensando hacerlas en el futuro con las longbeans tailandesas!;)

Colette said...

:) Las judias de por sí una delicia, pero la combinación mejor!Y los string beans los encuentras allí?No sé cocidos, pero crudos,como acompañamiento,cómo los echo de menos!!!No se puede tener todo!:P

Anonymous said...

Nooo, aqui no se encuentran! imaginaba una futura vida tailandesa ;P

Colette said...

JA JA JA!!!Por imaginar, que no quede!!!Besos!

Sissi said...

This salad is like a simplicity and sophistication in one. French beans, hazelnuts, orange... When I see such dishes I feel my cooking is primitive and basic (maybe the only exceptions are the Japanese dishes, which still amaze me). Such a salad cannot be just an accidental success, I believe you that the book is full of similar jewels. I have already added it to my Amazon wishlist. Thank you for the suggestion! I have also noticed this would be an occasion to use the recently bought julienne peeler ;-)
(I still haven't made the rösti crust... Waiting for colder days to come, but your original idea is impossible to forget.)

Colette said...

I assure you won't regret buying it if you finally do so (I sadly have nothing to do w/Ottolenghi ;) ) it is full of jewel recipes, all super vibrant looking and w/beautiful combinations: simple yet sophisticated, like you said. In reference to the julienne peeler, it's a great excuse to use it, but just make sure it does not get the white skin along (the one I own does as it's fairly thick). About the rösti crust, I wish I could get credit for that one...but it's already credited for!:) I regreted that it hadn't occurred to me before...like a polenta crust I read about the other day, still to be tried!:)Thanks again for passing by!

Colette said...

Here a link to a little post on Nopi (his last restaurant) David Leibovitz just published! To get an idea..http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/09/nopi-in-london/

Sissi said...

Thanks for the link and the tip. Actually I have only tried my julienne peeler on carrots and courgettes (I am amazed!!!), but I will pay attention if it doesn't take the white part of the zest too. In this case I'll use a simple orange/lemon peeler which takes thin threads without any white part. It's just that when I have a new kitchen toy, I like to test it on everything...

Anonymous said...

Haces unas fotos preciosas!

Colette said...

Si viene de tí, es todo un cumplido!!!Aunque seguro que podrías enseñarme MUCHO más, aunque con lo liada que andas...;)

Colette said...

Vaya pensaba que eras otra persona...:)

andermund said...

soy andermund! es que a veces no me deja publicar mensajes con el nombre, no sé por qué! La otra que no sabías quién era también era yo. Qué tal si estas navidades vamos a comer a algún sitio que te guste de Madrid? Tengo ganas de veros! Besos!

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