Green Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Toasted Hazelnuts

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 TB lemon juice
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 TB fresh basil, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the beans by immersing them in a pot of heavily salted, boiling water. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until still crisp but no longer raw tasting. Immediately immerse beans in ice water to stop the cooking and to preserve the bright color. Drain thoroughly. Prepare the hazelnuts by lightly smashing with a rolling pin or mallet between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Toast in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly golden, being careful not to scorch. Remove from pan to cool. To make the dressing, combine the mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl or jar. Add the oil in a stream and whisk or shake jar to combine. In a salad bowl, mix the beans, cherry tomato halves, toss with the hazelnuts and then add enough dressing to nicely coat the salad.