• Yield: Makes 12 servings

  • Time: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking, 15 minutes total

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.

Rick Rodgers is a cooking teacher, food writer, the author of more than 40 cookbooks, freelance cookbook editor, and radio and television guest chef. His recipes have appeared in Food & Wine, Men's Health, Cooking Light, and Fine Cooking, and he is a frequent contributor to Bon Appétit and a blogger at Epicurious.