Several years ago a friend of mine made a similar green bean dish for her Christmas buffet and this recipe has become a fall/ winter favorite of mine ever since.  The sweet taste of caramelized shallots, toasty almonds and chewy craisins are the perfect foil for fresh green beans.  This dish is a healthy alternative to a green bean casserole, and the festive color combo makes it the perfect side dish for a Christmas dinner.  Serve with turkey, roasted meat or a whole tenderloin.


Try substituting walnuts for the almonds and dried cherries for the craisins.  If you can find them, use slender French haricots verts.


Green Beans with Shallots, Almonds & Craisins

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

¼ C. slivered almonds

1 Tbs. olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste

¼ C. craisins

1.            Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add a pinch of kosher salt to the water, along with the green beans and cook until bright green and slightly tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water and immediately plunge into an ice bath (fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water).  Once beans are cool, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. [Beans can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated until ready to use.]


2.            Toast the almonds in a large fry pan over medium heat, stirring continuously, until slightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


3.            In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the beans to the pan.  Sauté, stirring continuously, until heated through, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with almonds and craisins, then transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately.


Serves 4 to 6