Bean Salad with Creamy Herb and Shallot Dressing

(serves 4)

This dressing goes well with many types of vegetables, including zucchini, fennel, lettuce, and mushrooms. Feel free to be creative with the fresh herbs you add. The dressing will last for up to a week in the refrigerator. Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.

1 ½ pounds green or yellow wax beans

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar

1 shallot finely minced

Salt and freshly milled pepper

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 ½ tablespoons chopped dill

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped thyme or marjoram

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Make an ice bath in a large bowl; set aside. Remove stem end and boil the beans until tender but still firm. Drain and put beans in ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain and set aside.

Combine the vinegar, shallot, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and sour cream, then stir in the herbs and season with pepper. Taste and correct the balance of oil and vinegar if needed.

Toss cooked beans with dressing and serve.