It’s sort of ironic that, while as a child, green beans were the vegetable I hated least, as an adult, they are the everyday vegetable I overlook most.
I mean, it’s true I love them slow-cooked with tomatoes, the way Tim’s grandma taught him to like them and the way he later taught me, but I only make them that way when Roma beans show up in our CSA or Tim throws a bag of fresh green beans in the shopping cart because, most of the time, the other, more alluring vegetables win out.
If I were ranking vegetables in order of the excitement I feel about eating them, the very nonofficial, I-reserve-the-right-to-change-it-later list would look like something like this:
- Onion: I have to rank onions (white, yellow, red; shallots; green onions, leeks) as #1 because a world without onions would be a world without mire poix, a world without onion rings, a world without the smell of sliced onions caramelizing on the stove – in short, a world with less flavor and a world I’m glad not to know.
- Brussels sprouts: Roast them! Shred them! Fight Tim for the last bite of the brown buttered ones, right off the stove!
- Summer Tomatoes: I always think of tomatoes as a vegetable. Every year when tomato season hits, I tell myself I’ll make giant batches of sauce to freeze for the winter months, and every year I forget, eating every last one straightaway instead.
- Kale: I literally crave kale salad, especially kale salad with Pecorino cheese, garlic, olive oil, and bread crumbs. As proof, the very act of typing those words here just now has made my mouth water.
- Broccoli, roasted: I have to say “broccoli, roasted,” because I don’t exactly want to shout about raw broccoli, even if it is good with hummus, but roasted broccoli? Come on. It’s practically candy.
- Cauliflower: And the most versatile vegetable award goes to…! Make flatbread pizzas. Make fried rice. Roast it like broccoli. Turn it into soup. Some people even bake it with cheese into a giant casserole.
Runners up for Top Five Favorites would have to include eggplant and probably bell peppers; and, of course, I could argue leaf lettuce right up into first place if I give myself time because salad is one of my favorite things to eat, so fresh and crunchable and bright.
Also, there are mushrooms, which are fairly neck-in-neck with broccoli or cauliflower, now that I think of it, so meaty and flavorful sauteéd on the stove.
But what of green beans? The last decade has sent my former favorite right off the top ten.
But lest you think I’ve spent this entire post talking you out of eating green beans, Wait, wait!
About an hour ago, I asked Tim to name his favorite vegetable. “Out of all of them,” I said to him. “Which one do you like best?”
I’ll give you one guess which he picked.
And so behold, the beauty of marriage! His favorite vegetable, dressed up with one of mine:
You’ll note that, in contrast to all of the resources linked to above, from which this basic method is adapted, we did not submerge our cooked green beans in an ice bath. This is for a few reasons: 1) Blame it on our 1990s childhoods or love of Italian-style slow-cooked beans, we are averse to green beans that taste raw.
If we’re going to err, we like to err on the soft side. 2) Personally, I find it easier to monitor the shallot mixture, get it where I like it, and then do the easy bit of boiling green beans and combining them with the mixture.
Of course, the alternate option is also available to you, which is to boil the green beans to the texture you like, remove them immediately to a bowl of ice water, and then combine them with the shallot mixture when it’s done.Print
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or three tablespoons unsalted butter)
- 2 medium (95 g) shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 clove (5 g) garlic, grated
- 1/4 cup (35 g) slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or other sugar)
- 1.25 pounds (525 g) green beans, ends snapped off and bruised bits removed
- 1/4 cup (15 g) grated Pecorino cheese
- 1/4 cup (35 g) dried cranberries
- Fill a 3.5-quart or larger stockpot with water and add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn heat to medium-high, and while water comes to a boil, start the shallot mixture: In a large sauté pan, melt ghee.
- Once pan is warm, add sliced shallots, garlic, and almonds. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until wilted and dark throughout. Then, lower heat to its lowest possible setting, stir in sugar, and leave mixture alone.
- Meanwhile, once the water has boiled, add trimmed green beans and cook for 4 to 10 minutes, until soft but still crunchy. The beans only need 3 to 5 minutes to cook, but we tend to like our blanched beans a little softer than most people, so we let ours cook even longer; just taste to measure crispness along the way, and stop cooking when the beans are the doneness you like.
- Once beans are cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to the pan of shallots, garlic, and almonds. Toss right in the skillet, and add Pecorino and cranberries, mixing everything to coat.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
What about you? Did you make this and love it like we did? Let us know in the comments below and please rate the recipe!
And if you love green beans, try these other varieties:
Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 27th, 2014. Last updated: December 28, 2019 at 23:31 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.