For those hosts seeking to serve a more exciting side dish than the traditional green bean casserole, here’s a recipe that can impress with its flavors without requiring endless hours of prep — blanched asparagus and haricots verts. The vegetables get nothing but a quick blanching in boiling water, then are dressed on a platter with olive oil, golden raisins and goat cheese. That’s it.
ASPARAGUS AND HARICOTS VERTS
WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PINE NUTS
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
1/2 cup grated firm goat cheese
In a medium skillet over medium, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook just until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the coriander and season with salt. Set aside.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Blanch the haricots verts in the boiling water until bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to immediately remove them to the ice water. Repeat the process with the asparagus, cooking it for 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Drain and pat dry the vegetables, then arrange them on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil, then top with the pine nuts, raisins and goat cheese.