I can’t imagine any green bean more maligned in American culture than the string bean. The canned versions often resemble a Seattle drizzle and are about as tasty as a one-note piano (salt...salt...salt). The restaurant versions are at least pretty to look at (sometimes), but they’re still bland. I’m here to tell you that string beans can have pizzazz. I start by giving them a special bath: a quick dip in boiling salted water followed by an even faster plunge into a cold pool. This parboiling cooks the beans and brings out their beautiful color.
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound string beans, “tails” removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons diced shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Spritz of fresh lemon juice
Fill a 4- to 6-quart pot three-fourths full with water and bring to a boil. Add the 1 teaspoon salt. Add the string beans and blanch for 3 minutes. (If you’re using baby green beans, blanch for 1 minute.) Drain the string beans and place in an ice water bath. This stops the cooking process and preserves their great color.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the shallots are golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more, just until aromatic.
Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of water. Add the blanched string beans and a pinch of salt. Taste the beans for doneness. Add the rosemary, lemon zest, and a spritz of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Patients and Their Friends Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.
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