French Green Bean & Fennel Salad w Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

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6-8 side servings

Tip: Recipes can inspire…and I’m always looking for inspiration in the kitchen. Yesterday, I was looking for jam inspiration. šŸ˜‰ In addition to a jam recipe, I found praise for the blogger plus comments about simple changes some made to the posted recipe. One writer, however, admonished those who posted recipe modifications, defending all bloggers for their time and effort in creating, testing, cooking and documenting recipes. Honorable in its intent, did the critiquing author consider that not everyone was in that blogger’s kitchen? Did their berries have the same ripeness; did they get the same amount of warm sun? Was the sugar granulated or fine (different weight). Are their tastebuds all the same? What size and weight of saucepan was used? Did they cook on electric, induction or gas heat? Were the BTUs of all gas burners the same? Was everyone stirring at the same rate? Do they all cook at the same elevation? What is their cooking experience level? You get the picture. My tip is…let inspiration guide your cooking. Recipes are a great starting place, but trust your judgment and learn what works in your kitchen.

Ingredients
1/2 lb French green beans
1 fresh fennel bulb
1 small red bell pepper
Handful of Italian parsley
10 good sized fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Freshly ground pepper

Prep
Wash, dry and trim all produce as needed
Bias-cut beans into about 2-inch pieces.
Using a mandoline, slice fennel and bell pepper into slices about 1/8-inch thick. If mandoline is not available, slice thinly as possible with a knife.
Chop parsley.
Chiffonade basil leaves.

Directions
Place all prepared vegetables together in a bowl.
Spoon enough vinaigrette over veggies to coat lightly; toss together; taste for seasoning or additional dressing.
Sprinkle with almonds; serve at room temperature or chill for later service.

Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
2 cloves fresh garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of sugar (optional)
3/4 cup high-quality olive oil

Mince garlic in food processor; add all other ingredients and blend well to make vinaigrette. Spoon some over vegetable salad and store remainder in the fridge for use in the next 1-2 weeks.

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