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posted: 4/9/2014 6:01 AM

Green Bean, Artichoke and Hazelnut Salad

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½ cup skin-on hazelnuts

¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil (see headnote; may substitute another nut oil or extra-virgin olive oil)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste and for blanching

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 small, fresh artichokes

1 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans), ends trimmed

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

Coarsely ground black pepper

Combine the hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon of the hazelnut oil and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a small skillet over medium heat, and toss to coat. Cook, shaking the pan regularly, until the nuts are fragrant, evenly toasted and beginning to crackle and sizzle, 3 to 4 minutes. (Don't let them burn.) Transfer them immediately to a large plate to cool. Transfer half of the cooled nuts to a zip-top bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to crush them.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the remaining ¼ cup of hazelnut oil and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if needed.

Fill a mixing bowl with water; add the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Use a knife to trim away most of each artichoke's stem, leaving about 1 inch and discarding the rest. Bend back the tough outer green leaves, one at a time, and snap them off at the base. Continue snapping off leaves until only the central cone of yellow leaves with pale green tips remains. (As you pare down the artichokes, keep them in the acidulated water; this will prevent discoloring.)

Trim the top cone of leaves to just below the green tips. Trim any dark green areas from the base. Halve the artichokes lengthwise. Use a grapefruit spoon or a melon baller to scrape out/discard the hairy choke (if present) from each half. Cut each trimmed artichoke half lengthwise into quarters.

Set a colander into a large pasta pot, fill the pot with salted water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the artichoke slices and blanch, uncovered, until barely tender, about 2 minutes. Lift the colander to drain them; leave the water in the pot. Transfer the blanched artichokes to the vinaigrette in the bowl and toss to coat. (Adding the artichokes while they are still warm will help them absorb the vinaigrette.)

Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Rinse the colander and return it to the pot of water. Return the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the beans and blanch, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. (The cooking time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately remove the colander from the cooking water, allowing the beans to drain, then plunge the colander (with beans) into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans should not stay in the ice water for more than 1 or 2 minutes, or they will become soggy and begin to lose flavor.) Drain well, then wrap them in a thick kitchen towel to dry.

Add the cooled beans and the crushed hazelnuts to the artichokes and vinaigrette; toss to coat evenly. Transfer the mixture to a platter or individual plates. Garnish with the shallot and the remaining whole, toasted hazelnuts. Sprinkle/grind pepper lightly over the top, and serve.

Serves four.

Cook's note: The toasted hazelnuts can be stored (before crushing) at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week. The vinaigrette and cooked artichokes can be tossed together and refrigerated for up to 1 week. The cooked, towel-wrapped beans can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Nutrition values per serving: 290 calories, 25 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 14 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 5 g protein, 0 cholesterol, 290 mg sodium.

Cookbook author Patricia Wells adapted from Lazare brasserie in Paris

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