Green Beans with Hazelnut Gremolata

Green Beans with Hazelnut Gremolata It’s Not Easy Being Green
Whenever you hear people raving about their favorite Thanksgiving dishes, usually it is the stuffing. or the sweet potatoes, or even the homemade cranberry sauce. Rarely is it about the vegetables that are served as sides—or at least that has been my experience. Not going to lie, if there are some greens on my plate at Thanksgiving they are there solely out of guilt for the obscene amount of carbs and gravy that I have piled up on my grandmother’s Wedgewood plates.

Since I am hosting the big event this year I have been compelled to come up with a vegetable side. And, I am finding it challenging to locate a recipe that I am willing to make and would work well with the rest of the meal. True, I could do my favorite Spinach Gratin. But, I am concerned that the cream and cheese would be too rich with all of the other caloric goodness on the table.

Yes, I could do some Brussels sprouts but the truth is, I hate them. I have tried so hard to like them and occasionally will order them if offered when I am out enjoying a nice dinner just to see if a different recipe will do the trick but, alas, they are still gross. Even with bacon.

A kale salad is a possibility. But it seems too trendy and obvious in this time of kale obsession, though it looks like the obsession might be waning. Plus, in my family, salads hardly ever get eaten. Case in point, the salad my grandmother used to make every Thanksgiving (that no one ate, but had to be made because it was tradition). This Endive & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Pecans is a good substitute and might actually be eaten…

So, I think I will end up going with tried and true green beans as a vegetable side this year. Most people like them and they are fairly easy to prepare in large quantities. I could steam and toss the beans in a little garlic butter. But, I may lose my mind and go a tiny bit fancier and make something like these Green Beans with Hazelnut Gremolata. When in doubt, I always reference Ina..

Green Beans with Hazelnut Gremolata
Yields 8 servings 
Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients
2 pounds Blue Lake green beans, trimmed
3 teaspoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
4 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 toasted hazelnuts finely chopped
4 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Make the green beans
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes until tender but still crisp. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

Make the gremolata
Toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan, and hazelnuts in a small bowl and set aside.

Assemble the dish
When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to the pan and sauté, turning frequently, for 2 minutes. They should be coated with olive oil and heated through. Turn off the heat, add the gremolata, and toss well.

Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve hot.

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