Green beans are so popular at Ottolenghi that we seem to be constantly on the lookout for new combinations. Orange and hazelnut go wonderfully well together. They offer a good balance of freshness and earthiness and the flavours are subtle enough to complement the beans without overpowering them. The beans can be cooked and chilled a day in advance and then dressed before serving. Sugarsnaps, green peas and broad beans can substitute any of the other two beans or be added to the salad.
400g French beans
70g unskinned hazelnuts
20g chives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hazelnut oil (or another nut oil, if unavailable)
coarse sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
- Using a small, sharp knife, trim the stalk ends off the French beans and the mangetout, keeping the two separate. Bring plenty of unsalted water to the boil in a large saucepan - you need lots of space for the beans, as this is crucial for preserving their colour. Blanch the French beans in the water for 4 minutes, then drain into a colander and run them under plenty of tap water until cold. Leave to drain and dry. Repeat with the mangetout, but blanch for only 1 minute.
- While the beans are cooking, scatter the hazelnuts over a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave until cool enough to handle, then rub them in a clean tea-towel to get rid of most of the skin. Chop the nuts with a large, sharp knife. They should be quite rough; some can even stay whole. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in strips, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith.
- Slice each piece of zest into very thin strips (if you have a citrus zester, you could do the whole job with that).
- To assemble the dish, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, toss gently, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.