Green Beans with Walnuts and Sweet Vinaigrette

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photo: Hans Gissinger

Serves 8

Incredibly good side dishes are hard to find but, according to my family, no green bean dish could ever be bad. Really; roasted, steamed, or with this vinaigrette, they always appeal to the whole crowd.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional (for sprinkling)
1/3 cup dried tart cherries or craisins
1-1/2 pounds trimmed slender green beans
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk olive oil, shallots, red wine vinegar, fresh mint, kosher salt, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries or craisins. Set aside. DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.

Fill large bowl with water and ice and set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water to cool them and stop them from cooking further. Drain.

Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.

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