Haricots Verts with Walnuts and Caramelized Onions

I had a friend who needed to be picked up from the airport in Savannah today, and I went along for the ride because afterwards we went to some of the nice supermarkets there. Of course we went to Fresh Market, where I got some veggies and some sushi for lunch, which we ate in the air-conditioned car in the parking lot. We also found an Indian market, called the Patel market. The owners were eager for us to try some of the snack foods that their wives make homemade. It was one of those situations where I had no idea what I was eating, but it tasted good and that's all that matters. It was mainly crispy fried cereals and peanuts mixed with different varieties of spices. I'll have to go back again sometime to stock up on their spices.

Anyway, back to the veggies I bought at Fresh Market. I bought some haricots verts---which are really thin French green beans. They're pretty much my favorite vegetable. I like them to be cooked just until the raw flavor is out, but the crunch remains. To make these beans more special, I added sweet caramelized onions and toasted walnuts. The bitterness of the walnuts balances out the sweet onions. Despite the simple preparation of these beans, they make an elegant side dish.

Haricots Verts with Walnuts and Caramelized Onions

1 lb haricots verts or very thin green beans, stems trimmed but left long
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
1 tsp organic cane sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the haricots verts and cook them for 4 minutes, or until they are tender-crisp. Remove them from the boiling water and add them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and then place them on a clean kitchen towel to absorb the excess water.
2. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them a few minutes or until they are darker and fragrant. Remove the walnuts from the pan and wipe the pan clean with paper towel.
3. Reheat the medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tsp of the oil, allow it to warm, then add the onions. Move the onions in the pan to coat them with oil, then sprinkle over the sugar and some salt and pepper. Saute the onions until they are golden.
4. Add the haricots verts and walnuts to the onions, along with the remaining oil, and allow the haricots verts to warm thoroughly. Re-season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 148
Fat: 10.8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 8 mg
Carbohydrates: 11.5 g
Fiber: 4.8 g
Sugar: 3.4 g
Protein: 4.7 g

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