Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Wipe out the saucepan.
Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the haricots verts, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the lemon juice, half of the almonds, and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the rice to a bowl and top with the remaining almonds.
Photograph by Con Poulos
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine