Green Beans with Sour Cream Dressing

This is another “trousseau” recipe but one I haven’t made for many years because of difficulty in getting the ingredients. It makes a really pretty dish for a “ladies’ luncheon” or to take to a party, but it requires “vertical pack” or “asparagus style” whole green beans. The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America (page 3523) provided this definition in 1938:

Later editions of the code provide more succinct but similar definitions. The term “vertical pack” can’t be found in recent editions, which is not surprising since the beans themselves are so hard to come by. Google did find one supplier, Tillen Farms, which apparently sells them both in jars and canned.

This dish can be made with ordinary whole green beans; they’ll still taste good even if they’re served higgledy-piggledy, or you can make an effort to straighten them out as much as possible before serving. Or you could cook beans from scratch and lay them out vertically to cool. For the most elegant presentation, however, you do want the beans to be parallel. The dressing could also be used on asparagus, which doesn’t present the same sourcing problems.

Green Beans with Sour Cream Dressing

Arrange two cans of vertical-pack whole green beans in a baking dish or serving container. Top with onion rings, a tablespoon (or more) of oil-and-vinegar (or Italian) dressing, and Spice Island cracked pepper. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or more, then drain and serve cold with this dressing on top.

½ cup mayonnaise
½ pint sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Update: I have found that Walmart has what are essentially “vertical pack” fresh green beans in its produce section. These Green Line beans come in the 8-oz. size shown and also in a 12-oz. size. This seems not to be a Walmart brand, so they are probably available elsewhere as well.

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