Friday, July 8, 2011

Sauteed Green Beans with Almonds

The trouble with green beans, I've decided, is all about texture. They insist on being too mealy, or too dry, or too rubbery and squeaky when steamed, or too shriveled when forgotten in a pan of roasted vegetables under the asparagus (although I admit the fault for the last one might technically lie with me). We found lovely, fresh, organic beans in our CSA box last week, and they sat in our fridge for days while I studiously avoided acknowledging their existence. But today, we ran out of leafy green things, and the beans were all that was left.

Fortunately, it turns out you can solve the whole dry and mealy thing with a simple one-two punch: slice, and then saute. So next time you're confronted with slightly overgrown, endearingly misshapen, texture-challenged green beans, try this.

Several handfuls green beans, sliced diagonally
(this is much easier with wider, flatter green beans, rather than round ones)
1-2 tbsp sliced almonds
Olive oil
1 small clove fresh summer garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Set a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, until they just start to turn golden brown. Add a bit of olive oil and stir to coat. Turn the heat to low, then add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, stirring once or twice.

Add the beans, turn the heat back up to medium, and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until the beans are just tender (you want them at that perfect in-between al dente between raw and completed soft and cooked).

Turn off the heat, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a bit of freshly ground white pepper, and stir. Leave in the pan until you're ready to serve so they stay hot.

Serves 2.

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