This recipe was a last minute addition to my Thanksgiving menu last year after landing in Brisbane during a heatwave and realizing that my butter-heavy winter dishes from the Midwest would not do. The salad was delightfully light and refreshing and was the only dish to be finished at dinner. It was not until making the recipe for this post that I was able to experience the pleasure of eating these beans as leftovers – the vinaigrette ever so slightly pickles the beans which gives them an entirely new flavor and texture. I am a glutton for all things pickled and I selfishly gobbled up all of the beans without sharing them with anyone!

Julian Opie, Still Life with Green Beans, Chilli Pepper and Carrots, 2001
lambda print with laminated onto canvas, with a gloss seal, mounted on stretcher, 39 x 65 cm

Contemporary Welsh artist Julian Opie is perhaps best known for the cover design of the ‘Best of’ album for the band Blur. His iconic and often replicated style of flat areas of color delineated by thick black lines is created by reducing photographs to their most basic elements. The Still Life with Green Beans, Chilli Pepper and Carrots is from a series of eight prints published by the Alan Cristea Gallery in 2001. The forms of the carrots, beans and chili have been distilled to floating patches of colour upon a black surface. Most of his art is computer generated and the two-dimensional aspect of his work is reinforced by the flat and even colouring of the foodstuffs.

{Green Beans with Red Onion & Mustard Vinaigrette}

adapted from Gourmet

3 TB olive oil
2 TB black mustard seeds
1/3 c red-wine vinegar
1 TB brown sugar
1 red onion, sliced
500 g green beans

Heat 1 TB of the oil in a large pan and once hot add the black mustard seeds. Cook until they begin to pop (about 2 minutes) and once done, transfer to a large bowl. In the same pan, simmer the sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and once hot cook the red onion until golden brown. After about 8 minutes transfer the onions to the vinegar mixture and then add to the mustard oil.

Add the beans to a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook for 5 minutes and immediately strain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Once cool add to the mustard oil and onion mixture and toss adding salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.

This is the first recipe in a four part series for a smoky & spicy Thanksgiving.