I’m talking about THIN green beans, of course… 😉
We learned about Michel Richard firsthand, at his wonderful, exciting restaurant Central in Washington DC. What a delicious experience it was! The bread – that keeps coming to the table, always warm and impossible to say no to – and the gougeres alone are worth stopping by. In his book Happy in the Kitchen, Michel Richard comments that most recipes for green beans cook them in boiling water, then quickly shock them in an ice-bath. However, he adamantly opposes this method when dealing with pencil-thin green beans. They are so delicate, so why would anyone furiously boil and shock the poor things, leaving them limp and lifeless?
I’ve been guilty of such green bean cruelty more than once, but I won’t ever do it again. When prepared by Michel’s guidelines, they are simply irresistible, even served without any embellishments. However, pairing these beauties with small roasted tomatoes didn’t hurt them a bit.
GREEN BEANS WITH ROASTED TOMATOES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
for the green beans:
a bunch of pencil-thin green beans (amount enough for two)
1 Tbs olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp orange zest
salt and pepper to taste
for the tomatoes
1 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Start by roasting the tomatoes. Spread them in a single layer on a small baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up. Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, shake them around, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a 400 F oven until they get soft and start to brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Reserve, keeping warm.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add the red pepper flakes and the orange zest. Keep in a gentle heat for a couple of minutes, until the mixture starts to get fragrant. Increase the heat, add the green beans, and let them cook for a few minutes undisturbed, so that they get a little color where they make contact with the pan. Stir them around to coat the beans with the flavored oil, and saute for a little while longer, until the beans are cooked through, but still al dente. Don’t overcook! Season with salt and pepper, add the roasted tomatoes on top, and mix gently. Adjust seasoning, and serve right away.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Michel Richard’s main message is to cook thin green beans straight by sauteing in a small amount of fat. You can substitute butter or a mixture of butter and olive oil, or use a different type of oil, keep in mind that some – like walnut oil – burn at a lower temperature, so it’s best to add them close to the end of cooking.
The combination of green beans and orange zest, worked quite well in this recipe, with the touch of balsamic vinegar brought by the tomatoes. It was a nice side dish for our grilled flank steak, but if you want a fully vegetarian meal, add some pasta or couscous, a big salad and a thick slice of grilled bread. It’s more than enough for a tasty dinner. Just remember, be kind to the green beans! 😉
ONE YEAR AGO: Torta di Limone e Mandorle