Green Beans with Crispy Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Shallots

Serves 8

Kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2-1/2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (five or six 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium cremini mushrooms, trimmed, halved if large, and very thinly sliced
2 medium-large shallots, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside.  Fill a 6- or 7-quart pot two-thirds full of well-salted water.  Bring the water to a boil, and boil the beans, uncovered, until tender to the bite, 4 to 6 minutes.  Drain, transfer the beans to the bowl of ice water, and let sit until cooled, about 2 minutes. (This completely stops the cooking process and retains the color of the beans.)  Drain and pat dry.

Put the pancetta in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and coarsely crumble.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and return it to medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, shallots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until both are nicely browned and shrunken, about 5 minutes.  Add the sage and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Take the pan off the heat and add the vinegar, mustard, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Stir to combine.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the green beans and toss to combine and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.  Transfer to a warm serving platter and garnish with the pancetta.

Make ahead:  The beans can be boiled and refrigerated up to 6 hours ahead.  The remaining ingredients can also be prepped up to 6 hours ahead and held in the refrigerator.  An hour before finishing, remove the beans from the refrigerator to come to room temperature.

Source:  Fine Cooking, Oct/Nov 2009