I’ve written about the wondrous little downtown Montreal wine bar called Pullman before. At that time, I also noted the wisdom of gleaning tips from those who work in restaurants when it comes to sleuthing a locale’s top spots to nosh.
It was a lovely young waitress in a Kingston (Ont.) pub who directed me and Ross to Pullman while we were dining on her establishment’s excellent fish and chips a year ago. In particular, she recommended the Green Beans with Almonds and Truffle Oil. She turned out to be right on all counts.
Located on Park Avenue just north of Sherbrooke, Pullman – named after the famous railway car – is a small, two-storey resto with a terrific wine list and a menu of small plates. We’re not talking your ubiquitous greasy, uninspired selection of “tapas” as served in many eateries but delectable little gems created and prepared with meticulous attention to taste and texture.
After two visits – the most recent one in June of this year while attending Montreal’s wondrous annual Jazz Fest – I found myself working my way through the brilliant array of offerings. Calamari are lightly battered, crisp and, in a word, superb morsels of deep-fried squid. The dainty charcuterie plate is perfect, the mini-bison burger magnificent and Asparagus with Mascarpone and Orange Foam divine.
The menu changes regularly according to season but those impeccable green beans with almonds and truffle oil seem to be a staple. The dish is a taste sensation and so simple that I managed to re-create it at home. The result was almost as good as Pullman’s. Here is the recipe:
Green Beans, Truffle Oil and Roasted Almonds
The name – and this is how the dish is described on Pullman’s menu – says it all. This sensational, sweet and simple creation is basically three ingredients – four if you include the sprinkling of salt. You must use good green beans, preferably local and in season. They call the almonds “roasted” but I toasted them in a skillet over low heat for about 5 minutes. Truffle oil and fleur de sel are worth the splurge and you only use a little. Bon appetit! Quantities are flexible.
3/4 lb/375g green beans
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted, chopped
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
Steam green beans until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Run under cold water. Cut in 2-inch/5-cm lengths. Arrange as shown in picture on attractive narrow dish. Drizzle with truffle oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Makes about 4 side-dish or appetizer servings.