December 28, 2011

A Diet for Fats Goldberg: French Green Beans with Mushrooms and Hard Boiled Egg

Lately, I've been reading The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin. It details Trillin's travels through America eating his way through road side diners and BBQ joints and donut shops. There are plenty of adventures and characters to meet along the way, and perhaps my favorite character is Fats Goldberg. As his name implies, this man can eat.

Fats shares a love of all Kansas City foods with Trillin, Winstead's and Arthur Bryant's - both places I've come to love (I have two Kansas City-born parents) - being chief among them. Fats used to weigh in the vicinity of 300 pounds, but he has been on a diet for many years and kept the weight off says Trillin. He lives in New York City, where he owns a pizza chain, but when he returns to Kansas City, he gives himself full permission to indulge:

For breakfast I'd have two eggs, six biscuits with butter and jelly, half a quart of milk, six link sausages, six strips of bacon, and a couple of homemade cinnamon rolls. Then I'd hit McLean's Bakery. They have a kind of fried cinnamon roll I love. Maybe I'd have two or three of them. Then, on the way downtown to have lunch with somebody, I might stop at Kresge's and have two chili dogs and a couple of root beers.

That was all before lunch. And it goes on, ending the day with two double cheeseburgers and a Frosty Malt at Winstead's. While Fat's might take the prize on over-indulgence, I know that around the holidays I start to over indulge a little myself. It's just hard to stop with all those cookies and baked goods lying around, and the turkey leftovers in the fridge, and that extra salami I keep nibbling on, and that good cheese that's  left over from Christmas Eve. Why not indulge? After all, its the most wonderful time of the year!

But sometimes when you're all fattened up, like I'm sure Fats would feel after an eating marathon in Kansas City, you just want something that's both fresh and refreshing. The other night, feeling that my overindulgence during Christmas needed a break, I whipped up this green bean salad with mushrooms and hard boiled egg. It's the perfect lunch or dinner salad, great as a hearty side with a bowl of soup and some good bread. The dressing gives the green beans a hint of France, and the mushrooms and hard boiled egg keep it interesting. It's the post-holiday refresher you - and probably Fats Goldberg - could use right about now.

Recipe below.

French Green Beans with Mushrooms and Hard Boiled Egg
Serves about 4

-1 pound green beans, washed and stems removed
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-6 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon lemon zest
-1 tablespoon chopped chives, plus more to garnish (optional)
-2 cups sliced crimini or button mushrooms
-1 egg
-salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Additionally, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Remove the green beans with a slotted spoon and submerge in the ice water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

2. To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, lemon zest, chives, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. For the mushrooms, heat a large saute pan on high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and saute for 5-10 minutes until well browned. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a small pot. Carefully submerge the egg in the water and allow to boil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the egg and run under cold water until it is cool enough to touch. Remove the shell completely. Place the shelled egg in a small bowl and crumble into a small bits using a fork.

5. To assemble, drain the green beans from the ice water and dry completely. In a serving bowl, toss the green beans with the dressing. Top with the mushrooms and crumbled egg, and garnish with additional chopped chives. Serve at once.