Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roasted Haricot Verts & Bosc Pears with Herbed Marcona Almonds {for Stemilt Growers}

Though fairly traditional in concept, the Thanksgiving feast is anything but set in stone. There are so many different and intriguing approaches to this meal. I’m always interested in learning of the varied adaptations and twists families make and take in arriving at their particular version.

There’s the big bird, for example, and no one way to approach him. Be it stuffed, dressed, roasted, deep-fried, brined, or spatchcocked... Tom can be a versatile guy. And then there are all the accompaniments from potatoes, salads, soups, and relishes to a host of different veggies... and a myriad of methods to each of these, from the simple to the sublime. Again, varied approaches, none right or wrong.

There is one dish, however, that does seems to spark very distinct opinion on right v. wrong and that's the infamous green bean casserole dish. For the most part I’ve found that friends are either in the casserole camp... or they are not. Many seem to have grown up in this camp and later moved on, others never strayed.

Growing up, I was one of those in the canned green bean-mushroom soup-onion topper casserole camp... by default. I certainly appreciated the flavor and crunch of this caloric creation, but then I didn’t know anything else existed. It really isn’t until you take charge of the meal yourself that you begin to define your own style. And when I did, years ago, haricot verts (French green beans) quickly won me over. Delicate, tender and a bit more diverse in flavor than traditional string beans, these fresh beans also tend to cook up quicker due to their long, slender profile... and require so very little in extras to make them shine. They are just fresh, delicious beans that play well with just about anything that might find itself on a Thanksgiving plate.

Generally I just give them a quick blanch, dry them thoroughly, and then sauté them up with onions and sliced mushrooms, letting them brown up just a bit. However, thinking of this year’s Thanksgiving feast and how nicely the flavor of haricot verts would be with fresh pears... and how beautifully pears (particularly Stemilt’s Bosc pears) roast... I’ve decided to change it up a bit. I’m not switching camps, just tweaking the flavor and simplifying the process.

Stemilt’s bosc pears, with hints of fall spices, are a perfect partner in this dish... offering a subtly sweet balance to this savory plating.

In this preparation everything just gets laid out on one baking sheet, with the pears halved and tucked into the corners of the pan, tossed with a little olive oil and simply seasoned with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Then it’s popped into the oven for anywhere between 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the bean and the amount on your pan (they roast best in one layer, not overly crowded). It’s an easy, quick roast that can be done once the bird is removed and set to rest before carving. When ready to serve, the haricot verts and pears can be arranged on a platter and sprinkled with herbed Marcona almonds. Super yummy and ever so easy... a dish that will make our own traditional feast this year… from the non-casserole camp of campers.

For recipe details, visit Stemilt’s blog The Stem.

Disclaimer: While I have been compensated by Stemilt Growers for this recipe development project, including photography, the opinions expressed on A Savory Nest are my own. Recipes and all images are the sole property of Stemilt Growers.

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