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Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

As often as we possibly can, Ranger Craig and I head to the ocean.  Just to stroll, hike if we’re feeling ambitious, tour the light houses or sit quietly on the cliffs watching for passing whales and playful seals.  Snapping pictures each with our own cameras and then comparing photos to see who got the best shot.

Whether its cloudy, foggy, misty or sunny – just spending time by the sea makes me feel a little more renewed and seems to refill my artistic coffer.  Sort of clearing my mind of the busy week behind me and all the tasks that had to be tackled.

Newport, Oregon

My most treasured reason for spending time at the ocean is of course, the seafood.  And there is none better than the delightful, inventive, fresh and delicious cuisine at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon.  It’s such a pleasure to dine at Local Ocean, watching the all the talented prep cooks and chefs create their art in the open kitchen.

Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon

The fantastic and professional staff at Local Ocean Seafood!

After our meal we always stop by Amber’s fish counter for fresh oysters and my absolute favorite chevre, a smoked goats cheese called “Up in Smoke” from our local award-winning Rivers Edge Chevre created at Three Ring Farm here in Western Oregon.

Rivers Edge Chevre

Rivers Edge Chevre from Three Ring Farm

A soft but slightly firm chevre that is wrapped in large maple leaves and smoked to perfection.  Not overly smoky, just ever so slight – enhancing the flavor and texture of this lovely little cheese.  I serve this chevre with assorted crackers or crostini and sometimes alongside a local red pepper jelly or fig preserves.  Such a delicious cheese, I thought it would pair beautifully with summer green beans, dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.  Tossed in a balsamic vinegar and my best California extra virgin olive oil.

Although this salad is perfectly delicious on its own, while sipping on a little glass of red or white wine, it paired beautifully with our dinner of Chicken Gaston Gerard.  This salad will also make a lovely summer side for grilled meats, poultry and fish.

If you ever venture to Newport, Oregon, dining at Local Ocean Seafood is a must.  Tell Ms. Amber that Karista sent you by!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Green Bean and Smoked Goat’s Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green beans

4 oz smoked chevre or more if you love your chevre (if you can’t find smoked chevre feel free to sub with your favorite soft goats cheese.  A flavorful goats cheese is excellent on this salad)

A handful of dried cherries

¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

3-4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

To Blanch the green beans:

Begin by filling a large pot half way up with water or enough to cover the beans.  Do not salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil.

While the water is heating, snap the stem end off the green beans.  I like snapping them by hand but feel free to use a small knife.

Fill a large bowl with ice water to create an ice bath for the green beans. Have it ready before adding the green beans to the boiling water.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  You want them crisp tender.  Just this side of raw. Not mushy.

The easiest way for me to quickly get them from boiling water into ice water is to pour the green beans into a large strainer in the sink and then transfer the beans to the ice bath.   But you can also scoop them out of the boiling water with a handheld mesh strainer and transfer them into the ice bath.

Let them sit in the ice bath for about 3-4 minutes and then drain.  I like to lightly blot them dry so the vinaigrette will stick to the green beans.

Prepare the salad:

Salt and pepper the green beans and then arrange them on a platter.  Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the green beans.  Next sprinkle with crumbled chevre, the dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.

Serve as a side dish with meat, poultry or seafood.  This is also lovely as a main dish over a bed of mixed greens and a few more veggies, like pickled beets and roasted carrots.  Enjoy!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Kirsten
    April 11, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Wow, Karista – this looks amazing! So making it this weekend. Also can’t wait to repeat once my garden beans are ready to rock. Cheers!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thank you Kirsten! I wanted to wait until green beans were in full swing but I thought why not post it now? Just too yummy not to share. Lol! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Coco in the Kotchen
    April 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Aka Coco’s Favourite Salad b/c it has all my fav things in there!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Lol! That’s what my oldest said last night. This is my new favorite salad. Happy Weekend Coco!

  • Reply
    Judy
    April 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This is it, the green bean dish for Easter dinner!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

      Yay! So happy you love it! It will make an appearance on our table as well. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Oh, my! I want this salad right now! Thank you so much for including such detailed directions! Also, the accompanying photos of local scenery are amazing! I think I am approaching my exclamation marks quota so I must stop!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 12, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Thank you, so happy you love this recipe. I too use lots of exclamation points 🙂

  • Reply
    Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen)
    April 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Great weekend getaway. It is really foggy/smoggy in Hong Kong too. The boats have been using their horns in the harbour all week long. Love this simple but elegant bean salad. I hope you are doing well. Take Care, BAM

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 12, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Hi BAM! Yes, it is a lovely little fishing village, thankfully though no smog-only typical PNW fog. I swear, this winter it felt like we lived in the movie The Fog. Lol! For some reason I thought you were in Shanghai? Wow, what an adventure to live abroad. Hope all is well with you!

  • Reply
    yummychunklet
    April 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    What a delicious way to prepare green beans!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 13, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks! It’s a nice change from my usual roasted green beans with balsamic vinaigrette. 🙂

  • Reply
    Alice
    April 13, 2014 at 5:33 am

    This dish so sings of spring! I’m absolutely certain I’ve used those words before, but I’m already fan of beans and the sweet and salty thing you’ve got going on here. Yum!

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 13, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Lol! Thank you Alli! Well if you’ve used it before it’s the first time I’ve read it here. 🙂 I love it “sings of spring”. You have a lovely way with words my friend. And with food I might add! Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely week ahead!

  • Reply
    Anne Sture Tucker
    April 14, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Absolutely delicious Karista!!! I love the sound of it and your gorgeous photos 🙂 And smoked chèvre – I must see if my fantastic local cheese shop has that!
    Thank you – it’s always such a treat visiting you 🙂

    • Reply
      bennett
      April 14, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Thank you Anne for the kind words! Oh the smoked chevre! It’s divine and made here locally. Have a lovely week!

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