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Green Beans with Creamy Tarragon Dipping Sauce

Whipping anise-scented tarragon and pleasantly tart crème fraîche until airy and light elevates this take on a crudités-and-dip platter. Cook the green beans until just tender, so their summer-fresh flavor is retained and they are firm enough to dip in the savory sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

Directions:

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for a minute or two, then drain, pat dry and arrange them on a serving platter.

In a bowl, combine the crème fraîche and heavy cream and whisk until the mixture is the texture of lightly whipped cream. Finely grate the lemon zest into the bowl, then halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl (reserve the remaining half for another use). Add the tarragon to the crème fraîche mixture. Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the crème fraîche mixture to a small bowl and set on the platter with the beans for dipping. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).