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In season Judi Gallagher says may is the month for a snappy green-bean salad.

Crisp, bright and low in calories, fresh green beans add color and nutrition to any meal. They're at the peak of their growing season from May to October, making this the prime season to "snap them up" for healthy and nutritious side dishes. Just snap the ends off and rinse.

Green beans are picked while still immature and while the inner bean is just beginning to form. They're one of only a few varieties of beans that are eaten fresh. Haricots verts, the French green beans, are skinny versions and tend to run slightly sweeter.

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Choose beans that are slender and crisp, bright in color and free of brown spots. Green beans stay refrigerated when wrapped tightly for about four days. When cooking fresh beans, rinse with cold water and either place in microwave with plastic wrap for 1-2 minutes or quickly saute. This keeps the bright green color. Since fresh green beans pick up the flavors of garlic, cumin and bacon fat so well, cook fewer beans in the pan at once. They will not only cook quicker, they'll taste better.

HARICOT VERT GOAT CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD
 2 shallots, minced
 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
 2 pounds petite green beans
 (fresh)
 1 tube herbed goat cheese
 Juice of two fresh lemons
 Extra virgin olive oil
 1/2 pound prosciutto,
 thinly sliced
 salt and pepper


Bring 3 cups water to boil. Add fresh petite green beans that have the ends trimmed. Boil for 40 seconds and immediately drain and drop into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When haricots vert are cool, drain from ice water and set aside.

Lay prosciutto onto cookie sheet in individual pieces. Bake at 400 degrees until crisp--about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and then chop into small pieces or strips.

Cut goat cheese into small chunks. In a separate bowl, mix sherry vinegar, lemon juice and minced shallots and gently whisk olive oil in a medium-sized bowl. Toss in green beans and goat cheese. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper. Serve on a white platter.

Read Judi Gallagher's blog, FOODIE'S NOTEBOOK, @sarasotamagazine.com
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Title Annotation:food&wine
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:356
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