The first thing to know about green beans is: to obtain the best texture, you should boil them in a big pot of water for 3-5 minutes. They will turn bright green, and the pot may not even quite return to a boil before they are done. If you steam them they get a bit rubbery, and if you saute them they don't cook fast enough. Drain them in a colander and spray them down with cold water to stop the cooking so they retain their crisp texture.
My friends Sarah and David called up this morning to ask for this recipe, that we served at our wedding celebration this August. So I guess it's time to put it on the blog! It comes essentially from Mollie Katzen's new cookbook, The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without, but of course I have modified it a bit.
3 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely minced
2 Tbs capers
1.5 lbs green beans, prepared as above
Heat the olive in a large skillet. Add the almonds and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until they look and smell toasty. Add the garlic and stir a bit, then turn off the heat. Add the green beans and turn with a spatula or tongs to mix, sprinkling with salt as you go. I was tempted once to just add the salt to the almond mixture, but it all sank to the bottom and was really hard to get mixed in. Voila!
The other wonderful recipe is Gujerati-style Green Beans, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking.
4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs black (brown) mustard seeds
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb green beans, prepared as above
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle and pop, put in the garlic and stir until they just begin to brown. Put in the red chile and stir for a second, then add all the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat down slightly, and stir for a few more minutes so the beans get well-coated and absorb the flavors. So good! Even though this is an Indian recipe, it is good alongside almost anything. I have also made it with powdered yellow mustard.