When I lived in Paris last year, one of my favorite things to do was to pack a simple picnic and head outside for my meal. Picnics took away the distractions of home- TV, chores, work, and all I had to do was enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the company I was with. Now that the winter blues have finally been chased away by the warm spring weather, I plan to start my picnicking again.
Here's a recipe for a delicious Green Bean Pesto Salad that doesn't require much stove time or chopping. I love its simplicity and celebration of fresh flavors. It's perfect for an outdoor meal- I made this a few weeks ago for a picnic and it was big hit. Combine this with a few sandwiches and you've got a delicious meal that's ready to take with you.
If you're in Boston, some of the best picnic spots are in the Public Garden, Charles River Esplanade, or the Boston Common. Enjoy this gorgeous spring weather while it lasts, I've been taking walks everyday just to see all the beautiful blossoms!
Green Bean Pesto Salad
Serves 4 as a side dish
Because this recipe is not cooked (besides blanching green beans), try to get the freshest ingredients you can find for the best flavor. The parsley keeps the pesto from turning brown.
1 pound of fresh green beans, stem ends removed
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed flat parsley leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
- Fill a stockpot or large pot with 3 quarts of water. Add 1 tbsp salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water.
- Add green beans to boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer immediately to the ice bath for 2 minutes, then drain again.
- Place garlic, basil leaves, parsley leaves, lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor or blender. Blend for about 1 minute, stopping and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Pesto should be smooth and slightly thick. If needed, thin out with extra olive oil 1 tbsp at a time.
- Add parmesan cheese and blend for 15 seconds more.
- Transfer to a large bowl and adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Add green beans and toss to coat. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.