Phoenicia Diner Recipe: Wax Beans and Fennel with Dill | Recipes | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Phoenicia Diner Recipe: Wax Beans and Fennel with Dill

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  • Photo by of the Phoenicia Diner by K. Trageser

Editor's Note: When putting the April issue together, our original idea here was to feature Mike Cioffi's two eateries—the Phoenicia Diner and Dixon Roadside (in Bearsville)—in a dual profile, comparing and contrasting the comfort food styles at these palaces of retro dining. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and widespread restaurant closures, the two eateries have laid off most of their staffs and have pivoted to takeout. #Coronoaviruslife. Until we can dine in again, here's a recipe from The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook, published in early March by Clarkson Potter.

As summer kicks into high gear, does the busy season of the Phoenicia Diner. But for many of its guests, summertime is long on relaxation and filled with simple pleasures—long hikes, dips in the swimming holes that dot the Catskills, and afternoon visits to a farmstand or backyard garden to gather supplies for a simple supper. This salad fits the bill. Wax beans, fennel, and dill all come into season just as school lets out in these parts. Refreshing, bright, and full of flavor, this recipe makes use of summer's ample produce and doesn't require much time near a hot stove.

Fennel, while delicious, can be a bit tough when eaten raw. A mandolin is helpful for slicing the bulbs into thin, translucent slices.


  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces wax beans, topped and tailed
  • 8 ounces green beans, topped and tailed
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, sliced paper-thin crosswise
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rapid boil over high heat. Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and adding water just to the level of the ice.

Gently drop the wax and green beans into the boiling water and stir to submerge. Cook until the beans are tender but still crisp, 3 to 4 minutes (carefully pull one out and taste to test). Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the ice bath. When the beans are fully chilled, transfer to a strainer to drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and dill. Add the beans and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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