This refreshing salad goes perfectly with the ham. To make short work of trimming the green beans, use kitchen scissors.
Make Ahead: The green beans, vinaigrette, and pecans can be prepared 1 day ahead.
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
3/4 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Spread on paper towels and pat dry. Cool completely. (The green beans can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, wrapped in fresh, dry paper towels, placed in plastic bags, and refrigerated.)
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup of the pecans and set aside.
3. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup pecans and the balsamic and wine vinegars in a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the oil to make a smooth vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. (The vinaigrette and chopped pecans can be prepared up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
4. Toss the green beans with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Excerpted from Celebrations 101 by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, 2004). © 2004 by Rick Rodgers.
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