Now that I’m home for the winter break, I have even more time on my hands than I will next semester. Of course, I’ve now got 7 semesters down and only one more to go before being shipped off to graduate school. But for now, I’ll enjoy the break from 19 credit hours that I have and take it one day at a time.
For whatever reason, whenever I come home, I’m always asked to make green beans. I didn’t think I made them in a particularly novel way, but whatever.
So after cutting the tips off all the green beans, (a task which I find incredibly boring, monotonous, and a huge pain the ass) I need to blanch them. Why? Because they cook better that way. You can just throw them in a pan and saute them that way, but then they don’t look very appetizing. Cooking green beans that way makes them really yellowish-green, not an appetizing color and I do kind of eat with my eyes first.
To get the nice green color of green beans, you have to blanch them. All blanching really entails is boiling the vegetable for a couple minutes (since they’re fresh they don’t require a long cook time) and then I drain them in a colander and run some cold water over them to stop them from cooking (a process known as shocking, you need to have the element of surprise over your green bean subjects after all). Cooking them for only like 3 minutes or so will get the green beans in their peak green color and then immediately dousing them in cold water will force them to keep that green color. You know what they say, it’s not easy being green.
There are super fancy and overly-complicated ways of shocking, i.e. throwing them in a bowl of ice water. But that requires me to use an extra bowl, put a ton of idea into that extra bowl, fill it with water and then throw the green beans in there. Running them under cold water works pretty much the same way and doesn’t require me to devote a whole bowl to ice water. Seems like a waste.
Once your green beans have been thoroughly shocked to the point of ceasing their cooking process, you need to prepare something for them to be seasoned in because at this point they’re literally plain green beans that are cold. Not delicious.
I like to cut up some shallots and garlic and cook them in a little bit of butter (or margarine for a dairy-free option). After sauteing the shallot and garlic, I throw in some lemon zest and the green beans. At this point I season with some salt and pepper to my liking. I turn the heat down to low because the green beans don’t really need to be cooked at this point just heated through.
While thats sitting on the stove, I crank up the oven to 450˚F and roast up some almonds. I don’t do anything to almonds save spreading them out on a baking sheet and throwing them in the oven. After about 15 minutes, I take them out and throw them in the green beans.
Then I finish the whole thing off with a little bit of lemon juice. It’s super simple and there about 100 other variations of this dish that I make (one of which involves bacon). But this is a good base for green beans and look how green they turned out in the end. Gorgeous!
Lemon Almond Green Beans
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 lbs green beans
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs butter or margarine
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs lemon zest
- 6 oz. sliced almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 450˚F.
Cut the ends off green beans and set aside. Heat a pot of water over medium high heat until boiling. Throw green beans into water and let cook for 3 minutes. Pour green beans into a colander and immediately douse with cold water.
In a separate pan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat and add shallots and garlic. Cook until shallots are semi-transparent (~2 minutes). Add lemon zest and saute for another 30 seconds or so. Add the green beans, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Let cook for another few minutes (3-4 minutes). Reduce heat to low.
Spread almonds onto a baking sheet and throw into the oven for about 15 minutes to roast them. Then toss almonds into the green bean mixture and add lemon juice, stirring to coat everything. Serve.