Green Beans with Crème Fraîche & Violas
Green beans just love dill and lemon so much that it is hard to break up the act. I've introduced a creamy, tart, cultured cream called crème fraîche to harmonize their flavors, and a favorite companion from the garden, violas, to make a chorus.

  • 1 pound Green Beans
  • One lemon finely zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche*
  • 1 teaspoon grated Shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Dill weed
  • 8 violas or other edible flower petals
  • 8 flowering Dill umbels

    Blanch the Beans: Snap off the stem end of the Beans. Bring a large pot filled with enough water to cover the Beans to a rolling boil. Add the Beans and cook for about half a minute. Remove the Beans and plunge them into iced water. When they are completely cool, remove and pat dry.

    For the Vinaigrette: Place the lemon zest, Shallot pulp, salt, pepper, Dill and crème fraîche in a mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

    Assembly: Toss the Green Beans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, several pinches of salt and a grind of pepper. Arrange Beans on a platter and spoon the crème fraîche vinaigrette around the Beans. Scatter the Viola petals over all and tuck the flowering Dill umbels in around the edges.

    *For a lower calorie version, blend 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 2 tablespoons buttermilk and use in place of the crème fraîche.