The dressing for this delicious new take on a classic green bean-and-tomato salad resembles a Mexican pesto. Green pumpkin seeds and olive oil form the base for the dressing, while garlic, cilantro and cumin add kick. The dressing makes about twice as much as needed, but keep the extra on hand to dress other salads throughout the week. This salad is a perfect accompaniment to grilled tri-tip and grilled sweet onions.
Start to Finish: 30 minutes.
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3/4 pounds haricots verts or slender green beans
2 small tomatoes (1/2 pound total), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until puffed but not browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Reserve 1 tablespoon seeds. Puree remaining seeds in blender with oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and 1 tablespoon cilantro until smooth.
Cook beans in a 4-quart saucepan of boiling well-salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, then plunge into a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking. Drain beans again and pat dry.
Arrange beans on a platter and drizzle with two thirds of pumpkin seed dressing. Top with tomatoes and remaining dressing and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro and reserved pumpkin seeds.
From The Gourmet Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin 2004).