green-bean-salad-with-pickled-red-onions-and-fried-almonds Recipes

green bean salad with fried almonds

I’m pretty sure I had a normal relationship to all things stringy and green when I started this site, but if my archives are any indication, at some point in 2008, something shifted and I became a green bean fiend. It might have even been May of that year, a month that be began with a simple summery salad but by month’s end, I was forcing Alex to endure takeout from a medicore French restaurant up to twice a week, just so I could have their side dish of skinny green beans with a pat of butter, some shallots and tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon juice. (When he cut me off, I simply went into the kitchen and attempted them myself.) I began remembering which restaurants cooked green beans perfectly each time, like the one on 7th Avenue that served them with roast chicken, buried in jus under a pile mashed potatoes and I literally ate them before the salty, crispy skin. I began judging places harshly if my beans flapped or flopped on a plate. I could speak unhealthily at length about various cooking times and what texture they’d leave the beans.

haricot verts
trimmed and tailed

Little has changed since May of 2008, well, except now a certain 12-toothed toddler had joined me in my green bean enthusiasm. We cook a pound at least once a week and eat them with nothing but a sprinkle of sea salt on top. And at least once a week I force us to order takeout from a restaurant just because they make a great green bean salad. And last week, we were able to sneak out to a new pasta restaurant in our neighborhood and look, the pasta was great, but this is what I really remember: green beans, lightly pickled red onions, thinly shaved fennel, slivers of celery and almonds, so well toasted their insides were the color of coffee.

red onion

red onion
fried almonds

It only took me nearly a week to attempt my own version. I hope you don’t wait as long. This salad is wonderful in so many ways, but to me it stands out for an absense of cheese and/or pork products, two things it seems every restaurant salad is loaded down with these days and it’s not that I don’t like either, I’m just impressed by preparations that think beyond heritage bacon bits and a crumble of upstate goat cheese. If you’re one of those people — and you’re hardly in the minority if you think you are — that dislike celery or fennel, I hope you try it here anyway because they’re just supporting actors in a greater cause, a crunchy bright salad that’s a wonderful lead-in to a heavier pasta dish. I’ll tell you about that one next time. First, I have to board a plane for somewhere warm and islandish. I’ll tell you about that too, er, if we return.

fennel, pickled red onion, almonds, celery

One year ago: Spaghetti with Cheese and Black Pepper [Cacio e Pepe] and Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
Two years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs and Braised Leeks and Hot Fudge Sauce
Three years ago: Seven Yolk Pasta Dough and Best Chocolate Pudding
Four years ago: Tips for Beaming, Bewitching Breads

Green Bean Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Inspired by a salad at Porsena

I realize that this should make four salad portions but confess it only served us two (minus a few beans for the little bean). Your portion size will vary by your level of green bean obsession.

About the almonds, I didn’t get them as toasty as I’d hoped to in the pan but love the finish frying them in olive oil gets you. If you’re as fanatical about those coffee colored almond insides I mentioned above as I am, you might want to start with very well toasted almonds (you can do this in a 350 oven for about 7 to 10 minutes but keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn). You could still finish them in the pan or just toss them with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, then season them. I realize these almond directions could benefit from another round of testing but I’m getting on a plane in about 9 hours and my brain, it’s already on island time. I get a pass, right?

1 pound green beans or haricot vert (skinny ones)
1/2 a fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound)
1 stalk celery, trimmed
1/2 medium red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I use Diamond brand; use less if you’re using Morton or table salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) whole almonds
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

If you’ve got an adjustable blade slider, time to make it earn its keep! Very thinly slice half your fennel bulb, your celery and your half onion. If you don’t have a fancy slicer, just slice them thinly with a knife. Toss the fennel with lemon juice to prevent browning and also because it makes it extra delicious.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and sugar together. Add the onions and set them aside for about an hour. If you don’t have an hour, 30 minutes will still pickle them to deliciousness but they will only get better with age.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Trim and tail green beans, something I just discovered I could do with kitchen shears. For me, it was a time saver. Boil beans until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes for regular green beans and about 3 minutes for skinny ones (a.k.a. “haricot vert” — what I used). Plunge in an ice water bath. Drain and pat dry. (If you have no patience for the precision of ice water baths, take the green beans out a full minute early as they will continue cooking as they cool.)

Heat a small heavy skillet to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into half or thirds.

Assemble your salad: Toss green beans with most of fennel, all of celery and half of the pickled red onions. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the red onion pickling liquid and two tablespoons of olive oil over the mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Taste, adjust seasonings and ingredient levels to your preferences — we found we wanted more fennel, red onion and pickling liquid.

Serve, then eat, eat, eat.

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250 comments on green bean salad with fried almonds

  1. I personally have never been a huge fan of green beans, probably never found the right recipe. This combination sounds amazing and just might make me a green bean lover. I will give it a try.

  2. Sally

    Looks delicious – I’m still in love with your green bean/potato/arugula salad.

    ps – unheathily is misspelled :)

    Enjoy island time!

  3. I have to admit I have an issue with green beans. They seem to always taste like wax to me. However, I’m willing to give this a try since you blanched them, and the salad is pretty (and YUM to those almonds!), so even I’m not necessarily a fan, I’ll be proud to serve it to others. Have a great vacation!

  4. Becca

    LOVE the picture of your 12-toothed-one. My son only has six at the moment, and he flat-out refuses broccoli (although he joins you in your love of green beans), but your picture reminded me of him!

  5. What Happens After Five

    Sounds delish! I adore green bean salad but am always trying to recreate my grandmothers recipe. It never works but I’ll have to try this!

  6. My whole family loves green beans as well. When buying them for dinner it is important to calculate in how many will be eaten raw while prepping them. I will try this recipe out as soon as I can find decent green beans again.


  7. Deanna B

    I wish I could get away with making green beans for dinner. These sound amazing, so I will have to wait until I am home alone to make them. Would marcona almonds work for this? Or should they be regular almonds?

  8. Kailee

    Hmmm, since you addressed the fennel-adverse specifically, I will attempt this beautiful salad WITH the fennel. I’m a late-comer to loving green beans having grown up on the mushy canned variety and now, like you, I cannot get enough!

    Have a great time on your holiday, Deb!

  9. I would love to make this salad, but where do you get such good looking green beans in February? The ones I have been spotting lately (Whole Foods and Fairway) were pale and not happy looking like the ones in your photo

  10. Michelle

    If I have a choice, I eat green beans. Mostly with butter, salt and pepper, cooked no more than 5 minutes. I will have to try this though.

  11. Caz

    This sounds like the perfect way to finish off my bag of green beans in the fridge!

    I always do a pan-fried version of green beans with toasted almonds and a squeeze of lemon, but this is great for a cold summer rendition.

  12. I toast my nuts in a toaster oven, if you are lucky enough to have one, it’s great! You can very easily watch them and give them a stir or adjust the temperature as needed to get a nice deep roast on the nuts.

  13. Oh yes, I fell in love with that dish at the restaurant. I can’t wait to go back and order it again. I’m a Sara Jenkins fan—Olives and Oranges is one of my favorite cookbooks.

  14. @ from the cookery and anyone else interested: We’ve been getting the most marvelous haricots verts from SAM’S CLUB, of all places. They come in two-pound packs (separated into two crinkly cellophane bags) and they’re just the freshest, crispest, eat-them-raw-as-crudite little fellows. Tee-ninecy, as we say in the South.

    I stood in a Farmer’s Market stand on the Salisbury Plain, holding a handful of these and wishing that I could find such wonderful little beans here in the Heartland, when they were selling them by great trugsful, just ladling them into the shoppers’ baskets.

    We’ve been getting these since perhaps September, so I suppose that means they’ll stay year-round. and I think one Sam’s store has pretty much the same as the others.

  15. I second the Sam’s Club thoughts.. Against all the odds in my head, I tend to find the best produce at Sam’s. Works out well that you have to buy, like, five pounds of it, because it’s always so delicious that you never mind gorging on it for a few days.

  16. Susan

    You got me started on those pickled onions and now I cannot leave them alone! I just love how the vinegar mellows them (I now even flavor my salad vinegar with a chunk of onion) I use them on so many things now, where I used to not use any raw onion at all. I adore steamed green beans, too, as long as they are picked young and are still velvety smooth; I won’t buy them when they’re knobby and rough. I don’t like them too under cooked, either. I cook them until just firm enough that they still have the last vestiges of bright green about them. Fennel bulb I’ve still not tried. I’ve tasted things flavored with fennel seed and I do like the flavor. I’m acutally looking forward to giving this a try.
    Have fun in the sun! I’m sure you must be so ready for some tropical warmth.

  17. By the way, I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that I read (on Sasasunakku) that you’re reading Great House and having a struggle getting into it. I read it a few months ago and found it very challenging as well. I was frustrated by the structure of the book (you don’t know who the narrators are talking to!) and I was really wondering what the point was going to be. Krauss kept me guessing till the very last pages, but even though I didn’t necessarily feel it was my kind of book (both plot- and story-wise), I can’t argue that she is an amazingly talented writer, which was what kept me reading. I’d be willing to give it a re-read if there weren’t so many other things to read first!

    Her website is very insightful:

  18. Pam P

    Will you be bypassing the cruise portion this year and going straight to Bermuda? Perhaps some Atlantis in your future? YeeHaw! You go girl! have a fabulous time and please takes lots of pictures.

    I promise that will get over my fennel aversion and try this salad. Yes, I will get over my fennel aversion….well I will try

  19. Liz

    Totally agree with all the green bean love going around here – however, must confess to a dirty little secret: Much as I love the brightness and squeakiness of a just-cooked bean I also (whisper it) have a strange affection for the dull green ones that come from a can. Can I get help for this particular affliction, do you think??

  20. Okay, I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a while now, but I am filled with renewed enthusiasm now that I know I have a fellow green bean fanatic! More, more, more!

  21. This recipe looks lovely, but I have to say, I never understand why recipes tell you to top AND tail their beans. I understand why you would cut of the bit where the bean was attached to the plant because that’s usually a bit brown and shrivelled, but the pointy bit is just part of the bean right? And they look so much prettier when they’re cooked with the pointy bit still attached. And, it saves time while prepping them!

  22. Amy

    Hey Carter, I’m one of those people who don’t rave about celery or fennel, but I’m willing to give this salad a try. It looks delicious and all this talk of green beans is making me hungry! Amy

  23. Katie A

    Yum — fennel was a revelation to me the first time I had it in a salad. And I’ll eat anything with pickled onions ever since the escarole salad that accompanied the chicken milanese recipe.

    I have a mild nut allergy, but seeds are OK; I wonder if there’s a seed that I could substitute for the almonds in this …

  24. I am also a green bean fiend. This past summer and fall, I volunteered for my CSA and was give free produce in exchange (hoooray!) and I always shoved loads of handfuls into my little market bag. I think they are a super versatile veggie – I think my favorite is roasted.

  25. Love, love, in love with green beans dressed up any way. I grew up with homemade mushy cooked to death green beans. But even my
    Mother changed her cooking methods later in her life and started cooking a more crisp bean. I’m like you when it comes to judging restaurants except I
    Judge their bread. If it’s not homemade then theres a good chance the food won’t be good either. ?

  26. This is one we’ll be trying. One of our go-to sides in the summer is a delicious green or wax bean salad with walnuts and dijon yogurt dressing. I’m always on the hunt for a new bean.

  27. Wish I Was Baking

    Just a heads up on an edit that’s needed – 1st paragraph just before the simple summery salad reference – month that be began – extra “be” sitting there :) Have loved your site for a long time – enjoy the vacation!

  28. I am getting more and more into green beans as well, since when I discovered you can (actually should) eat them crunchy – in Europe we overcook them! Beautiful salad. I hope you enjoy your holiday.

  29. Lisa

    You had me at pickled red onions–one of my favorite things to make is still the escarole salad you introduced us to a couple of years ago! Note to self: add green beans, whole almonds, and fennel to lunchtime shopping list. Safe travels!

  30. This dish does look wonderful, and green beans must “be in the air’ today. I posted a veggie stir-fry today because I had a bag of green beans sitting around waiting to be cooked and was ready to do something interesting with them. If they had been able to last a few more days maybe I would have made this instead! Of course, despite being a big fan of big flavors it’s still hard to forget just how good green beans are with just a little butter and kosher salt.

  31. I am going to have to hunt down some fennel. It’s in many recipes that I want to try, this one included. And I’m about mid-way converted to celery, so I think I can handle that one just fine. I like the Sam’s Club suggestion for the beans…will have to try there.

    Also, sigh…to be heading to an island today! Sounds marvelous!

  32. G

    Why do you take the little tail off – It makes the green beans look so pretty – I always take the stem but not the little curve of a tail.

    Looks delious – time to drag out the mandoline.

  33. Oh, green beans! i buy them by the bagful at the farmer’s market in the spring and early summer. usually i just steam them, but this sounds like something fun to try, especially since i LOVE pickled onions, and have never tried fennel!
    can’t wait to make this.

  34. I guess I know what I’m having for dinner! I have all those ingredients. By the way, I’m sort of new to the blogosphere, and I can’t get enough of your blog. Keep up the great work!

  35. Shelley

    I’m not one to buy green beans at a store when we grow our own… and last summer I grew fennel for the first time and made some amazing salads with that — this combination sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to get my fingers in the dirt planting all these wonderful veggies again! In the meantime, looks like I may have to go searching for some high quality beans soon! Enjoy your sand time :)

  36. Kitz

    Deb – I think it must be a pregnancy thing. I avoided green beans for years (except for the canned french style..who knows) Now I’m four months pregnant and I want them every single night! Totally making this.

  37. Nelson’s Mama

    This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it when I can get good beans this summer.

    “I began judging places harshly if my beans flapped or flopped on a plate” made me laugh out loud! As a southern girl, I’ve worked for years to perfect my grandmother’s technique of “cooking down” green beans with ham hocks!

  38. I love green beans. I eat them raw during the summer. They are one of those things that if cooked wrong, which unfortunately happens often, turn out mushy and gross. They lose all their appeal if cooked wrong. I like to blanch then quickly in water then saute them with salt and pepper.

    This salad is a must try for a green bean lover like me :)

  39. Kelly

    If you ever return, could you answer a question about getting the beans crisp? I, too, have a long long love affair with restaurant green beans and I’ve never been able to replicate at home.

    So, I put water on to boil an then throw the green beans in…does the 3mins start from when they hit the water or when it rises to a full boil again? And, then, regarding the cold water bath: I strain my beans using a colander (sp?) and then put them in cold/ice water. Is this what you are doing? Do your beans get water logged?

    What if you then want to serve them warm? I put them in the cast iron skillet w/ butter and shallots on low. Is this correct?

    Any other tips? Perfect Green Beans and Pancakes escape me (even w/ your pancake tips) so let’s hope if you give me tips for green beans, I’ll have better luck.



  40. samarahuel

    Oh, this looks like the perfect dish to fill the empty slot on next week’s meal plan. I have a question about mealtimes for you, if you don’t mind: my son is about the same age as Jacob, and it’s awesome but logistically difficult sometimes that he can now eat most of what we eat. (He eats about as MUCH as we eat too, which is downright perplexing to say the least.) So my question is, what time do you usually eat dinner? And I guess another one would be how much do you feed Jacob (like, would a few green beans fill him up, or would you supplement with other foods?) I know you don’t like to dole out unsolicited parenting advice, but he looks like such a happy, healthy kid, I’d love it if you’d share some of your secrets for such a joyful dinner!

    1. deb

      Ahem, before I am busted, yes I am checking in from vacation. I had to send an email and got tugged over here. I promise not to do this daily! :)

      Trimming and tailing beans — Definitely don’t tail them if you love the tails, of course. I find them cute, but scratchy. The salad at Porsena is not tailed, so don’t judge Sarah Jenkins by my funny green bean preferences!

      samarahuel — Jacob goes to bed very early. It’s not our first choice, but often results in a terrific amount of sleep and obviously we welcome this. So, we do not eat dinner together, ever. But we love brunching with him on the weekend (our brunch = his lunch). This site is very out of date, but I’ll get back to talking about baby eating habits one of these days…

      Leslie — Thanks, will update.

      Tasmin — Indeed, I do too. It’s just that by the early part of the year, I’m so depressed by local offerings (last picked in November!) that I fudge a little on my favorites and even more on the baby’s these days. I haven’t the heart to tell him it will be months before local broccoli arrives!

      Kelly — If the pot of water is big enough, it will return to boiling within seconds. If not, I still count from when I dump them in. I usually remove them with a slotted spoon (no, I don’t know why) and dump them in the ice water. Draining them, dropping them in ice water, and draining them again is probably how normal people would approach it. You can pull one out right shy of 3 minutes, drop it in ice water, taste for doneness and then decide if it’s worth keeping the rest of the batch in for another minute. Very thick ones, like I often get from the farm stands in the summer, can take closer to 5.

      Ali — Everything. Alex nearly flipped over the clam linguine, if you’re into that.

      Pam P — No more cruises. Ever. Heh.

      Janae — Thank you. Made a massive further dent in it today. Would love to hear other books you are enjoying, as I will probably finish it tomorrow …

      Back to magaritaville now! :)

  41. This looks delicious – the photos are so warm and enticing. And, I entirely agree about the need for salads that feel overwhelmingly green. I have a favorite – sliced green apples and celery, with toasted walnuts and a mustard-honey dressing – that gets me through the gray days of winter.

  42. I toasted the almonds in a crepe pan over *very* low heat and got the results I think you are after. The insides are dark and the outsides aren’t burnt…can it be that simple?

  43. Abby @ Get The Fork Out

    This sounds absolutely wonderful! I’m also green bean obsessed. Honestly I’ve been known to steam them a bit in the microwave to still-crisp and finish them Ina skillet with brown butter and a bit of lemon…. And eat them with my fingers. So good! I look forward to making this!

  44. NicM

    Recently I was at a beer dinner and all six of us at the table were raving about the green beans! There was nothing “special” about them, they were just cooked absolutely perfectly.

  45. LindaInNJ

    Sounds like a wonderful recipe, Deb. My family (including my 11 year old) loves string beans. I usually steam them and then quickly saute’ them in olive oil and fresh garlic and season them with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. But this sounds even better. I will definately try them. Thanks!

  46. Janet

    That is a beautiful looking salad! And I love green beans, too. I may have to try this with store ones and then really go to town in the summer. Adding green beans to my “definite yes” veggie garden list!

    And, oh, the scrunchy nose of delight!

  47. What a gorgeous looking salad! My husband has a similar love affair with green beans (especially fresh out of the garden in the summer) but he isn’t a big salad guy. I think I could definitely get him to eat something like this! I love mixing up my salads because you can only eat so much lettuce.

  48. This salad looks absolutely amazing and I am DEFINITELY going to try it this weekend! My sister loves this kind of stuff and she is on a trip right now, but I am going to make it for her when she comes home as a surprise!

    Thanks so much for the tip! :)

  49. Marilyn

    The salad looks fantastic.I’m making it tonight. The very best pasta dish I ever had was at a little restaurant in St. Helena, CA. It was a short curly pasta, dressed with fresh basil pesto, roasted fingerling potatoes & slightly crunchy green beans. Yum!

  50. Anne

    I am sooo making this recipe this weekend. I am going to try it with celery instead of fennel as our weather out here on the left coast has turned yucky and I don’t want to be out in it anymore than I have to.(I know, you’re thinking it’s about time) I will serve it with your baked potato soup. I have been wanting to make it but lacked the proper meteorological inspiration.

    I think Marilyn above has a great idea. Wouldn’t your salad be yummy tossed with some pasta and maybe a bit of poached salmon? I may have to brave this yucky weather and go shopping after all.

  51. Green bean lovers of the world unite!

    I always feel so guilty buying green beans in the winter. I don’t know how it works in the US, you have a wide range of climates, but in the UK most green beans are imported from Kenya. With such a massive carbon footprint to consider I guess I’ll be bookmarking the salad for the summer when I can pick them from the garden.

  52. This looks fresh and yummy! I am always looking for new things to do with string beans. Plus, I never cook with fennel (and I’m Italian!), but I’ve been wanting to experiment with it.

  53. Mai

    Oh my gosh, I have to make this now! I am a green bean fanatic and will happily eat a lb just tossed in olive oil and sea salt for dinner. And anything with fennel is good in my book. If I’m not feeling lazy when I get off work I’m so going to the store, if I am well, its getting made this weekend.

  54. Kate

    I always cringe when it comes to pointing out typos, but you seem to want to know- your mediocre French restaurant is missing its “c”. Have a great time on vacation!

  55. oh, good lord, just read that porsena NYT review not ten minutes ago (still reading wednesday’s paper on thursday night? you betcha. i consider only one day behind against three children a serious victory.) and was longing for some seriously more detailed info. Pork, schmork. Bring on the beans.

  56. Sally

    Deb – have you read “This is where I leave you”? I LOVED it. Reading “City of Thieves,” very interesting but probably not good beach reading… Oh, a good beach read is “One Day.” Loved it. Enjoy the beach –

  57. Ooch – another awesome-looking recipe requiring fennel. Why can I not find fennel in any of my local grocery stores!!! Ergats – I’m going to have to try searching online. I’m a green bean fiend as well and this looks terrific.

  58. Not a fan of almonds but I have some pickled shallots (from a jar *cough*) leftover from our Chinese New Year raw fish salad so I’ll make this with cashew or peanuts instead.

    Since you have a thing for green beans, let me share with you my favorite version. If you can handle some chillies, this is a very famous Asian dish.

    dried shrimp – soaked, chopped up to bits, lightly fry in a bit of oil
    red chillies and some garlic – chopped fine
    Stir fry those with the beans in some vegetable oil after a quick blanch.

  59. Yummmm. I love shaved fennel in a salad, but have never attempted it myself. Unfortunately, there are only a few green vegetables that the boyfriend and I can agree on and guess what, greens beans are on that list! This looks like a great way to freshen up green beans and make them exciting again, so thanks!

    And enjoy your vacations :)

  60. Hi Deb — if you haven’t heard of or read it yet, do read ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls. I was GLUED; there were no lulls or boring spots. After reading, this book stayed with me for a few days; I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I read a review that described it as a “stealth tearjerker” and it totally was. Also, it would be a great book to read on vacation ;)

    A few other favorites are ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ by Jhumpa Lahiri, ‘The Age of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton, any of Frank McCourt’s memoirs, and I’m in the middle of ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Barbery, which I like so far.

    Happy reading!

  61. I have a thing for green beans too! I even cut them up, sprinkle a little salt, pepper and a splas of garlic infused olive oil and then.. ahem microwave them for a few mins. So So good! oh and if you like green beans you should try the Kerala beans thoran where we temper some mustard seeds and curry leaves, then sautee the beans with some shredded coconut, finely chopped onions and green chillies. Awesome with rice and lentils tho I just have bowlfuls by itself!

  62. VSE

    Deb –For an opposite but equally delicious take on green beans, have you ever tried the Balkan/ Turkish / Middle Eastern way of braising them long and slow with tomato, onion and olive oil? This can be cooked in advance if you have a lot going on, is even better the next day and is also delicious at room temperature — therefore good for a party buffet or for taking on picnics or to other people’s houses. Here is one version —, but there are many all over the net and in cookbooks, and I see no reason not to add almonds to it. Don’t worry — these are nothing like horrible overcooked plain string beans. Have a great vacation — new experiences with Jacob!

  63. Mmmm I love me some green beans, and some Sara Jenkins — I’m not sure I’ll be able to last until green bean season to make this one!

    Also, this is definitely one of *those* questions, but how fennel-y is this salad? I’ve always been extremely averse to licorice-y things, and i’d like to dip my toes in the fennel pool first, rather than a cannonball dive in …

  64. We’ve found pickled onions make everything taste better and always have a jar in the fridge so this will be a snap to make. Will try it with those green beans, local celery and pickled onions in the fridge tonight. Also going to use Marcona almonds and see how that subs for the sauteed almonds. BTW, the pickled onion “juice” makes for the best guacamole. Thanks!

  65. Green beans are one of my favorite foods of summer, but the chore of cutting of the ends is always the worst. I had to do it one too many times when I was younger and now it’s in my head as an overwhelming task haha. But for this salad, I think I can manage :)

  66. Robin

    The DIVINE 60 degree weather in our marvelous city had me craving a crunchy veg-o-matic lunch exactly like this! Perfect timing, Deb! I just made it, and because I had them laying around, I added the dilly beans from the Union Square Greenmarket. Seemed thematically appropriate, no? And like everything you make that I subsequently can’t resist making for myself, it’s DELICIOUS. 2 gals sharing a tiny kitchen in Brooklyn love you.

  67. D

    YUM! I just made this for lunch and it was amazing! My notes:

    (nitpicky) but you forgot to tell us to add the almonds at the end! Luckily I never would forget to add anything crunchy to my food so I remembered on my own :)
    I used regular green beans and cooked them for 4 and a half minutes, and did the ice bath. They were perfect!
    My first time making pickled onions and I LOVE them, now I know what to do with those extra halves of onions lying around!
    Also my first time using fennel and it really added to the salad!
    I toasted my almonds in the oven, then on the stove, then after I chopped them, I added them back to the pan and they got some more color on them.
    And finally, I only used one tablespoon of oil and it was definitely enough.

    Thank you for a great recipe! Have a good vacation :)

  68. pamplemousse

    I made this last night for guests and everyone loved it. I added arugula and pickled the celery and fennel along with the onions. Their flavors permeated the vinegar, so the dressing had this wonderful fresh, slightly anise-y, flavor to it. SO GOOD. Thanks!

  69. Elizabeth

    Deb, I love your typo’s! I think they make you human and I’m never going to correct you:)
    That said, I’ll post more when I make this and I will soon as I have a love of the green bean too.

  70. Marie M.C.

    Oh dear. I seem to have the gene that makes one find some green veggies yuckie. I love asparagus and artichokes and could eat them every day (and sometimes do) but when it comes to broccoli and green beans that’s another story. Jacob, you’re welcome to eat mine. Love the pictures your mother takes of you. You are sooo adorable I want to give you a big squeeze.

  71. i didn’t even have to click the link to know who/what/what you were talking about when you wrote “green beans pickled onions” – its prob one of my favorite things at porsena. (if you like the idea of pickled cauliflower – peels serves a little of it before every meal at dinner). i def have to recreate this recipe!

  72. Kelly R

    If you like good green beans, check out the Chinese Long Beans with sweet ‘n spicy peanuts at the Hurricane Club on Park and 26th. The ambiance was good but these were the highlight!

  73. Melanie in Bellingham, WA

    Pickled onions are fabulous on sandwiches or hot dogs, and I love making salads with duck-fat fried almonds. I definitely need to give this combination a try.

  74. I, too, am a green bean fanatic. Summers find me happy in my garden growing my own. This time of year I’m dependent on Costco. They have a lovely package of thin, tender beans that work perfectly for salad like this.


  75. Mai

    Ok, made this today and it was absolutely lovely but omg the pickled onions! Where have those been all my life!?!? I’m actually sitting here picking them put of the bowl (although I did use shallots since silly me forgot to get a red onion, but really, can you ever go wrong with shallots?) because I need more. My roommates are going to get sick of them so fast, but I’m pretty sure I’m putting these in everything ever now.

  76. Barbara

    Made this for a pot luck and it was hit! Afterwards, I finished off what little there was left – I just couldn’t stop eating it! It was divine. Perfect for a picnic, tailgate, or pre-Hollywood Bowl. Thanks, Deb.

  77. Decca

    I made this tonight after three days of working straight and having to ignore my little boys…I let them entertain themselves and hang with their dad just a little longer while I fried almonds and pickled onions. I love those boys, but this salad was worth making them wait a little longer for Mama! So fresh and unusual and beautiful. We followed it with bowl of pasta topped with our neighbor’s chickens’ eggs and parm. Heaven! Thank you so much.

  78. S.T. Stinson

    Hi – I want to check the gram conversions in your recipe for blood orange olive cake. Did you really mean 219 grams of flour? Feels like it should be more?

    I gave up on weighing the ingredients and used cup measurements instead. The result was fabulous.

    ST Stinson

    1. deb

      S.T. — 219 is correct. I use 125 per cup as a guideline these days.

      Ishita S. — I could barely taste the fennel. It might be the other loud flavors (like onion) dominating or that mine was out of season so perhaps not as strong.

  79. Praj

    What a refreshing idea! No heavy, calorie-laden dressing! Just made this for lunch and loving it. Those pickled onions are addictive…

    Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe :-)

  80. Boise Leah

    I love green beans almost as much as broccoli (the reigning vegetable king in my house), so I had to make this and it was delicious! There are so. many. things! going on in this salad – crunchy, tart, sweet, salty, anise-y – how could someone not love it? I’m even tempted to try this with broccoli and compare the two.

  81. Took the suggestions on the extra pepper, salt, onion and pickling liquid, but accidentally bought hazelnuts instead of almonds. The hazelnuts were a slightly stronger flavor than would be ideal, but I still found myself standing over the stove eating it out of the container, ’cause … wow. Wow. This is a wonderful way to usher in Spring.

  82. I’ve been a green bean fiend since I had them with shallots in a Chinese restaurant. They were divine. This recipe looks great and I will definitely give it a try. Thanks for posting this.

  83. Karen

    This is so delicious! Made it tonight for dinner, added some softened goat cheese to the top and almost ate the whole bowl myself! Don’t know which part I like the best…the crispy fennel, the slightly spicy onions, the creamy almonds?? Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for the great recipe, you’ve been an inspiration!

  84. Alas, the clock reads nine of the evening; so I must wait until tomorrow to shop for ingredients. Already am savoring your salad in my head. Though I suspect I will always be an omnivore, about eighty percent of my meals are vegetarian. This lovely melange will be tomorrow night’s dinner. I often eat a meal-sized portion of tasty side dishes for a lunch or dinner. Good bread, a glass of wine, fruit….

    I’m new to smitten kitchen and look forward to belonging to the community.

  85. Ada

    This was soooo good! I made a larger portion of it and packed it for lunch for the first part of this week. I made only one change, which was to add can of chickpeas; they go pretty well with the rest of the salad, though I’d love to try some Canellini beans too. Thanks for another great meal inspiration!

  86. srs1972

    Hi, Deb! I just wanted to thank you for all of your time and recipes! You are so genuine and it is a pleasure to read your blog. I’m so glad you have a cookbook in the works. I will pre-order two (one 4 my mom) and stand in line for hours to meet you! You are the real thing! Thank you and have a beautiful week!

  87. Aaron

    Love the recipe!!! I absolutely LOVE pickled onions, my recipe uses apple cider vinegar just brought to a boil, then add the onions, a smashed clove of garlic, and maybe a tsp of sugar and a few chilli pepper flakes, then simmer everything just till the onions go pink. The heat helps the onions absorb the vinegar, everything is done and cooled in under 20 min.

  88. Amanda

    I made this for a pot luck party on Friday and it was a huge hit! I don’t usually love fennel, but it worked so well with the other ingredients. I plan to make this over and over–Delicious!

  89. I have some frozen local green beans calling to me from the freezer. I think I’ve finally found what to do with them.

    I’ve been wanting to try Porsena for a while now; just another reason that I must!

    Enjoy your island vacation! I’m extremely jealous.

  90. 3 comments:
    1. I was taught by two very good chefs, Darina Allen and Skye Gyngell. Darina says a perfectly cooked bean should squeak when you bite into it. Skye says a bean should never squeak when you bite into it. I love Darina but I agree with Skye.
    2. My 6 month old has been grown on breast milk flavoured by ‘green beans with belachan’, the ONLY dish I can order at our local Malaysian restaurant. I can’t get passed it.
    3. Do people still cook from Moosewood Cookbooks? They nursed me through my early vegetarian days and I know them backwards. Their Moosewood Classics has a recipe that could be this one’s brother. A bit more gauche with olives and swiss cheese, but your vinegar and almond combo reminds me of how good theirs is too.

  91. Nikki

    YUM! Made this for dinner last night and it was perfect. Your directions for toasting almonds in the oven before pan-frying were spot-on – 8 minutes at 350 had them perfectly carmel colored on the inside.

  92. Sarah

    Goodness – this is, I think, the BEST salad I have ever had. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Not only will this be a household staple, but it is so beautiful that it will be a great entertaining dish too!

  93. Lisa

    One thing that’s really good is boil some green beans til barely done and still crisp, drain, spread them out to steam-dry (imo easier than cooling in an icebath and drying), then put salt and just a little cold-pressed peanut oil on them and chill until ready to eat. They go great with sandwiches and stuff for lunch, I eat them like french fries. They’re better than fries actually, and definitely better for you.

  94. MH

    I don’t normally do this….but I have to say this green bean salad is OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious. It is absolutely going to be my go-to salad for the summer. THANK YOU!

  95. i am thanking the gods above Deb – because this is the FIRST green bean salad i’ve come across that doesn’t have bacon in it. and not that i’m opposed to bacon, cuz’ i love it, really i do. but can we just give bacon a rest for a bit? bacon in pasta, bacon in peas, bacon in salad, bacon topped ice cream, bacon cookies and bacon jam . . . ok, so the bacon jam is killer but you know what i mean, right? i will be making this pronto . . . as soon as i run to the store for green beans . . . can you believe i have everything else in this house BUT the green beans???

    1. deb

      Smith Bites — AMEN on bacon fatigue. It seems inconceivable that folks might occasionally want to eat vegetables without a warm slick of lard on top these days!

  96. juniebug in Seattle

    We had this salad last night and it was excellent. Also great as leftovers earlier today. I tossed in a handful of watercress for a little peppery zing. Thanks!

  97. Kristen McElligatt

    Ohhhh…… and paired it with your spinach and cheese strata and a glass (strike that) a couple of glasses of chardonnay (FOR DINNER before the Oscars). Yum!!!1

  98. Sandy

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! My mom had bought a couple of fennel bulbs for a recipe she had intended to make for guests, but when the guests cancelled, she decided to hold off on making her recipe and was asking me what she should do with her fennel. Imagine my delight when I had just read your recipe, and multiply that delight exponentially when I passed it off on my mom and *she* made the salad for *me*!! It was wonderful! The almonds were the perfect addition to all the wonderful colors and textures. Loved the change from our usual lettuce and spinach salads!

  99. Marian

    I cannot even explain how much I love this recipe. I insisted on making it for weeks and eventually convinced my boyfriend and sister that I was a lunatic obsessed with fennel, but it’s all been worth it because these green beans are the yummiest thing I’ve ever made and not felt guilty about eating nonstop. Thank you!!

  100. Naomi Wolinsky

    this salad rocks! i made it last nite and I live alone so I had some left, and it is even better tonight!! thanks!

  101. Karin

    Eating my 2nd try at these right now. Awesome. Delicious. I can’t wait to stop writing so I can continue to eat them. My meal share friend will be so psyched next week when her family gets this salad!

  102. O Wow! Have never commented before on a food blog, but just have to tell you–this salad is out=of-this-world delicious! And I had to use frozen uncut green beans, so when I can get wonderful fresh green beans I guess it will be better, but I can’t imagine it….
    This is one of those things where the sum is definitely larger than the parts. And I didn’t haul out the mandoline and knive slicing worked just fine. Thanks!

  103. Brooke

    My guy and I gobbled this salad up in about 10 minutes, barely touching our “main course”. As Aaron did (in post #168) I used apple cider vinegar (all out of red wine vinegar) but I think I would have liked the red wine better or even rice vinegar. The apple cider lent a bit of an unwelcome twang. But that wasn’t enough to deter our scarfing! The fennel was the perfect foil to the tender crunch of the beans, and like you, Deb, I tossed in a good portion of the remaining pickling juices.

  104. Dawn

    Tried this recipe last night and loved it. Even my husband said it was good, and he gets tired of all my failed new recipes. Brought the leftovers into work this morning to go with my lunch.

  105. Holly

    First time to comment though I’ve been cooking from your blog for about a year. Loved this recipe! Took it to my friends’ house–carbo loading prior to a race so I thought this would be a good non-carb addition! Here’s my changes out of necessity: didn’t have fennel. Pickled celery with onions because I can’t read directions. This turned out to be good as my husband doesn’t like celery–so it tasted less like celery. Used cashews which i really liked, again out of necessity. Finally had some great local goat cheese that I served on the side–I know it didn’t need it, but honestly I love goat cheese on anything! Even packed the leftovers for a hike the next day!

  106. Kristi R

    Loved, loved, loved this. So simple and yet so good with all the flavors melding toghether. My husband and I couldn’t leave leftovers on this one…

  107. Green beans were my childhood nemesis at the table, where I often had to sit with cold ones after everyone had left…but strangely, this recipe (and your gorgeous photos) is actually making me want to give them another try (although at this point in my life, I’ve learned to appreciate haricots verts with a hunk of butter — just not the scary canned ones from the 70s!).

    Hope you’re having a stellar vacation.

  108. Amanda A

    Holy yum! Made these to take to a family dinner this week and they were devoured. I’m a little obsessed with green beans, especially the fresh summer Half Runners, but I’m always looking for new dishes to spruce up the out-of-season beans. This is a new winner! I couldn’t find haricot verts and, since my beans were a bit large, I roasted the green beans instead of boiling them and they were delicious (already had the oven on for another dish). After tasting the dish for salt, my husband didn’t want me to take it to the family dinner – we wanted it all to ourselves. I’m going to have to quadruple this recipe next time if anyone else wants to get a taste :)

  109. Margaret

    I dislike most vegetables. I’ve had fennel maybe twice in my entire life. And I never eat pickled things. However, when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it and I knew I would love it. I finally was able to make it this weekend, but instead of green beans I used asparagus, as that is what we had on hand.


    I highly recommend it.

  110. Anne

    Made these tonight and even my finicky eater boyfriend who usually hates red onions loved it! Soon he will be eating yellow onions raw… Some day…

  111. Laura

    I’ve made this several times since you posted it, and I’ve loved it every time! It’s absolutely delicious. The only change I made was replacing the celery with extra fennel because I adore fennel, but even a hint of celery ruins a dish for me. I don’t think the salad suffers from the lack of celery.

    Also, you’re absolutely right that the longer the onions pickle, the better the salad it is. The first time I made this, I was in a rush and didn’t pickle the onions for very long. They were fine and the salad was quite good, but the onions and the salad really shine if you let them pickle for the full hour.

  112. Chloe

    Loved this! The bonus for me was realizing how easy it is to pickle red onions. Dear G, how did I not know this? I always devour them at taco stands. You know–they’re always at the condiment bar. At least, in CA and AZ they are…
    Ah if only I had read Tina #86’s comment first–almonds on low heat for a while. I will try that next time. I did the oven and fry in skillet and they did not get the coffee color inside, but JEEZ they were tasty with the seasoning. Seasoning them separately was the kicker.
    Also, the cold water bath WORKS.
    Thank you, again, Deb!!

  113. kittykatkel

    Hi there,

    I have been reading all your recipes with great gusto – all the way from South Africa. I had heard of smittenkitchen and now I’ve had a chnace to check it out – WOW! I will be heading this way for my next braai recipes (that’s BBQ to you, I think!) It’s the national past time of South Africans and I have found some fab recipes. First on the list is chicken empanadas for a starter, then these beans…Awesome stuff! Thank you!

  114. jenn

    i completely did not believe you with the fennel and celery, but wow! this is fabulous. i am a huge fan of green beans and pickled onions but have never tried them together. so delicious. off to my dinner party!

  115. Alison

    Oh my god delicious! I tried this recipe for something light with mac & cheese and my fiance and I ended up eating ALL of the green bean salad and barely touched the pasta! Yum.

  116. Hillary

    Made this AGAIN for a crowd, and yes, it was still amazing. Interesting how some guests raved about the onions, others the almonds. Don’t forget to file this under vegetarian (it’s vegan!), gluten-free, and dairy-free.

  117. Deanna

    This is a terrific recipe. I just made it for ooh the fourth or fifth time! Lovely melange of flavors. Thanks for sharing it!

  118. Mari

    Dear Deb,
    I´m not new to this site (AT ALL!) but this is the first time I comment. Just wanted to let you know that you have a huge fan in Colombia!!!
    I made this salad yesterday for a dinner party at my place. I served it with a variety of cheese and Tim´s concord grape tart and it was a huge success!!!
    What amused me the most is that men in this country are basically meat-but-not-salad eaters and they all ate the salad, loved it and commented about it.
    This salad and the thai green papapaya salad are a staple in my house!!

    Thank you so much!

  119. Hey Deb, I’m sure my comment is going to get lost in the sea of 200+ comments, but every one of them is well deserved on this post. I made this just now and subbed shallots for the red onion, pumpkin kernels for the almonds and chinese cabbage for the fennel. I love the pickling of the onion ahead of time. Great post!

  120. Mary

    This, coupled with the Linguine with Pea Pesto, made use of our CSA fennel, white onion, peas and beans in a very tasty way! I ran out of olive oil so the salad got none, but it was still excellent! I join the ranks of those who have never before pickled- yum! I used pre-sliced almonds (all I had) and roasted them dry in a cast iron pan, then added under a teaspoon olive oil for the final roasting.

  121. Sarah

    I just made this to go with a toastie Camembert/Pear/Onion Marmalade sandwich for dinner. It just kind of seemed like what I was after even though I really HATE anything aniseed or licorice flavored. Thus, I was really worried about the fennel. But you were right – it’s nothing to be afraid of. So for any of you thinking eh on this because you hate fennel, you really should try this. I loved it! And my husband did too even though he’s lukewarm on celery…

  122. Ladotyk

    Yum! The whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts. I used slivered almonds instead of whole, but otherwise made it just as written. Thanks Deb!

  123. I’ve now made this salad twice and just wanted to let you know how fantastically amazing it is. I, too, am addicted to green beans and THIS is the green bean salad I’ve always wanted to make and never did. Yay! Thanks for being awesome :)

  124. RL McGruder

    This is the very first recipe I made with the ingredients in my very first CSA box – amazing! You got me off to an amazing start – thanks so much!

  125. Maria

    Thanks for the almond-toasting tips Deb and #86 Tina. I’ve made similar recipes before but have never quite mastered the almond-toasting–probably just too impatient to eat the beans. I’m definitely trying this recipe next time I have fennel!

    Another way I love to have steamed green beans is simply beans + brown butter with a squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. This is really all your fault Deb, as you are the one who introduced me to brown butter! ;)

  126. Pathika

    Great salad, even my picky husband who is not so much of a veggie lover enjoyed it, I served it with pan seared salmon steak, thank you much Deb!

  127. Leah

    Hi Deb, how much of this can I prepare ahead of time? Should I leave my onions in the pickling liquid overnight, or should I pickle them for an hour, then remove them and store them overnight?

  128. Amy

    This made a lovely lunch with the addition of a little crumbled feta, lambs lettuce and thick slices of homemade (Jim Lahey no knead) bread. Delicious. Thank you.

  129. Sarah L.

    Stumbled over your blog a few days ago and to say that I’m hooked is an UNDERSTATEMENT!!!!!! It’s obsessional! My hubby is starting to worry…
    Just made this: absolutely terrific!!!!!!!!! fresh, different, delicious! Put a lil more fennel cuz my string beans were a lil bitter….Thank you!!!

  130. Stephanie T

    Hi Deb–perusing your recipes in anticipation of Thanksgiving and this one looks amazing. Because we only have one oven/stovetop, I try to do as much as I can ahead of time. Read through the comments but couldn’t find anything on preparing it in advance–do you think I could prepare the components in the morning and assemble in the afternoon? Thanks!

  131. Laurie G

    I made this for Thanksgiving. It is awesome! I made a double recipe. Debs comment: “we found we wanted more fennel, red onion and pickling liquid.” So true. I made the green beans and other ingredients and the pickling onions on Wednesday and tossed it all together about an an hour before serving on Thursday. So easy and delicious!

  132. Jennifer F

    Hi Deb!
    I made this last night as an accompaniment to the linguine al limone. Wow!!! What an incredibly delicious salad! I really must thank you again for rekindling my sense of adventure in the kitchen. Normally, I might have been deterred by such unknowns (to me) as fennel bulbs and pickling. BUT, I had a huge bag of green beans in the fridge that needed to be dealt with before they went bad, so I decided to try this. And boy, I am SO glad that I did! My 11 year old daughter has requested that I make it again. :)
    So, I was wondering if I could get your opinion on something. While rummaging around in my pantry for almonds, I came across a container of dried cranberries that didn’t get used up at Thanksgiving. I had a passing thought that those cranberries might be an interesting addition to the salad, but I wanted to make it as written first before getting too crazy. :) Then, as I am often wont to do, I started thinking about cheese, and I thought that if I was making this as a side for a dish that didn’t already have cheese in it (such as the linguine al limone) that maybe the cranberries and some kind of cheese ( I don’t know- goat? blue? feta? something?) would be an interesting touch. I could be waaaaay off, but I was just wondering what you thought about that possibility. Would the addition of the cranberries and/or some kind of crumbly cheese overpower and overcomplicate the flavors of an already perfect dish?
    Thanks so much for your time!

    1. deb

      Jennifer — Glad you enjoyed the salad. It’s one of my favorites, too. Cranberries and blue cheese are very common additions to salads of any kind, though personally, I like this one better without sweet stuff. I feel like there’s a good balance there without it. You might like one of my other favorite salads on the site, the Broccoli Slaw. It uses cranberries, but not blue cheese, but I suspect blue cheese would be excellent there.

  133. Mary

    Hi Deb.

    I made your Almond Date Breakfast Bars this morning for my family. They are
    delicious but they are not staying together in a bar form. Any suggestions?
    Thank you, Mary

    1. deb

      Mary — Try to press-press-press and then refrigerate them a bit. They should cut cleanly once cold, and then hold together better, even back at room temperature.

  134. Jennifer F

    Thank you so much for your response! I will definitely try the Broccoli Slaw (say that 5 times very fast!) sometime in the upcoming week. Thanks again!

  135. Hi Deb – I just made this for a pot-luck lunch at my sister-in-law and it went down really well. I love green beans and fennel, celery and onion all worked so well together – really great flavours. Totally agree re. adding more and more fennel and pickled onions – couldn’t get enough of them!!

    Thanks again for the great recipe!

    Also making your baked orzo and eggplant pasta bake for my parents tonight – so having a bit of a smitten kitchen kinda day!

  136. Lynn F

    Hi Deb! I’m having a little gathering in my backyard Fri, yes, day after tomorrow,
    and well, Have you ever made a green bean dip or topper (I have a load of fresh greens growing Blue Lake) and some wonderful whole grain sesame seed flatbread to possibly use, if it works out. Trying to show off my green thumb and celebrate my 50th! Oh, I have lots of wonderful red beets too I’m dreaming of a easy chutney or dip for the little party. Any suggestions? I love your style… Thanks!

  137. Jeanette

    This is one of my fave dishes of yours, and that is saying something! Plan to make it for Thanksgiving, to add some delicious lightness to the typically heavy menu..

  138. Robin

    I made this recipe for Christmas dinner, then again a few days after then again about two weeks later for my 3-year-old’s birthday, and to rave reviews each time. I LOVE it. Can’t wait to bring it to a pot luck later this year. Delish! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  139. Amy

    Made this to bring to my family’s Easter dinner last night and it was a hit! I have a bulb and a half of fennel left and am using it ALL for the next batch…which I’ll be making in a few hours. Thanks for the great recipe! You’re the best, Deb.

  140. mks

    This was a delicious and colorful addition to our Thanksgiving table! I wanted something cool and crunch and acidy in the midst of all the savory, creamy dishes. It was perfect and will be a regular part of the menu here. I doubled everything except the fennel and used chopped marcona almonds as a bit of a shortcut. Thank you!

  141. Kailee

    This is amazing! Made this for a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with a gorgeous piece of sea bass. It was delicious and light and perfect! A winner for sure!

  142. Alice

    Made these last dinner for a dinner party. It was delicious! I loved it. I left out the fennel (I don’t care for it). I’m not great with a sharp knife, so I used slivered almonds instead of whole, but it was still terrific. A keeper!

  143. Rach

    This is my go-to side dish for every holiday! The flavor combo is fantastic. There have been times when I haven’t had one of the ingredients on-hand but it still always turns out great.