When living in France, I became accustomed to the traditional crudite salad available in most charcuteries and bistro-style restaurants in the fall months. This California adaptation uses the domestically grown thin string beans, which are similar to the French haricots verts. If they are unavailable, cut large string beans in half lengthwise.
Use a food processor to shred the carrots and the beets. If not available, use a boxed grater. When working with beets use plastic gloves to protect your hands from beets staining them. I also put a piece of foil on the counter to avoid the beets from staining it.
This light and refreshing salad can be served as is or dressed up with crumbled goat or feta cheese. I like to present this on a white rectangular platter to show off the colorful variety of vegetables. You also could add a simple mushroom or potato salad.to this for a more substantial salad course.
You can serve this alongside a salad of tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil for a light luncheon or supper, along with some olive-studded focaccia or crusty multigrain bread. I also like to add this as a tasty side to quesadillas, grilled steak, chicken or your favorite sandwich. This is a good salad for large gatherings, as it can easily be doubled.
What to drink alongside? This is especially good with a big oaky chardonnay, though it can also be served with any dry red wine.
Tricolor Vegetable Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
For the Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
For the Salad:
1/2 pound French green beans (haricots verts), ends cut off
6 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
4 small or 2 large beets, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1. Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning.
2. Immerse green beans in a medium pan of boiling water on high heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked but slightly crisp. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with ice water to stop cooking. Drain and place in a bowl and combine with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette. Toss to evenly coat and let marinate for 15 minutes.
3. Place shredded carrots in a bowl and toss with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Place shredded beets in a bowl and toss remaining vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
5. Place lettuce leaves on a large serving platter or individual plates. Arrange 3 mounds of vegetables on top of the platter or on individual plates and garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately.
Make ahead: This dish may be prepared up to four hours ahead through Step 5 and kept covered in the refrigerator.