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Marinated Summer Beans with Toasted Almonds and Dry Jack Cheese

Green and yellow summer beans shine with flavor when cooked until just tender and tossed in a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. Use aged dry Monterey jack cheese if you can find it, as it has a sharp, sweet flavor that brings out the sweetness of the beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon 
  • 1/2 lb. green beans 
  • 1/2 lb. yellow wax beans 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup curls or shavings of dry Monterey jack or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted 

Directions:

Zest the lemon to yield 1 tsp. grated zest. Juice the lemon and reserve 3 Tbs. juice.

Trim the beans and cut them diagonally if desired. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and plunge the beans into ice water to cool. Drain well and put in a large bowl.

Add the olive oil, tarragon, 2 1/2 Tbs. of the lemon juice and the lemon zest to the beans. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and add more lemon juice, if desired. Transfer to a platter, top with the cheese and almonds, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).