I have been using this preparation for green beans for a decade now, and I never get tired of it. Warm green beans are tossed with a little goat cheese, allowing the cheese to melt slightly and coat the beans. Then, finely chopped crispy bacon and hazelnuts are sprinkled in, clinging happily to the chèvre lacquered beans.
This is the perfect potluck dish and I suggest it as a replacement for your green bean and onion casserole this Thanksgiving. It does not disappoint!
Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Hazelnuts:
1 # green beans, trimmed
2 oz. chèvre (soft, fresh goat cheese)
3 strips bacon, cooked crispy and finely chopped
1/2 C. roasted hazelnuts*, finely chopped
S & P
Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling, salted water. The beans should be crisp-tender, but not overcooked. For delicate haricot vert, this might be just a minute or two. Large green beans may cook for as long as 5 minutes.
When done to your liking, drain the beans in a colander and let them cool for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally to encourage evaporation. Once the beans are just cool enough to handle, dry them a bit with a paper towel or two and place them in a large bowl.
Crumble the goat cheese over the warm beans and toss thoroughly to coat. The heat of the beans will melt the cheese. Once the cheese is evenly distributed, sprinkle the beans with salt and pepper and toss again.
Lastly, crumble in 3/4 of the finely chopped bacon and hazelnuts and toss gently. Arrange the beans on a platter or in a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and hazelnuts.
Serve while still warm or refrigerate and enjoy cold.
*To roast your own hazelnuts, place the whole nuts in a baking dish and into a preheated 350 degree oven. Roast for 7-10 minutes, or until the nuts become fragrant and the skins begin to darken. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
To remove the skins, pour the nuts into a clean kitchen towel and wrap them up tightly. Squeeze the bundle firmly, rotating the nuts around to rub them against eachother. This takes a little elbow grease, but eventually most of the skin will rub off. A warning: don’t use your favorite kitchen towel.