Thursday, 10 April 2008

G is for Green beans

Grapefruit leapt to mind, but never cooked – either a half in the peel topped with a couple of dollops of honey or squeezed into a glass. Next up were grapes, usually tossed into a summer salad, although there is a decadent way to cook them. Halve red or green seedless grapes and poach quickly over medium heat in some Marsala; then heap around a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
So I ended up settling on green beans, also known as string beans or French beans or haricots vert – the latter still rolls off my tongue having grown up in Quebec. The following is a quick way to put together a side dish for grilled chicken breast.

1/2 pound fresh green beans with ends snipped off
1/2 large red bell pepper, julienne into 1/4” strips
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Pepper to taste

  1. Using a large pot , bring 2 quarts of water to a rapid boil, add the green beans and return to a rolling boil to cook for 6 to 7 minutes until they are tender but still crisp. Pour the beans into a colander, rinse under cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
  2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pine nuts until lightly browned. Remove to small bowl.
  3. Add oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot, sauté the red peppers for 5 to 6 minutes until almost softened. Then add the green beans, juice and pepper – stir gently for about three minutes to reheat the beans. Toss in the pine nuts and heat 1 more minute. Serve.
Important in this recipe to prevent the green beans from cooking too long, becoming soft and flabby, losing the slightly crispy snap and the textural difference with the softened peppers. As an added treat slice red onions into rings and cook at the same time as the red peppers.

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