I love green beans. They are one of my favorite vegetables and probably the green vegetable I serve most in my kitchen. They are simple and delicious and I'll often eat a bunch of them before I even get them to the table. Green beans are kind of like really great french fries to me. I usually cook them very simply - blanching them for a few minutes to get the "raw" taste out, a tiny bit of butter, salt, fresh cracked pepper, sometimes fresh garlic or garlic powder.
One year I used the recipe for haricots verts that I found in Martha Stewart Living and thought it was just great. It really dresses up your average green bean into something worthy of a dinner party. Plus, it's insanely pretty!
Haricots Verts with Pecans and Lemon
via Martha Stewart Living, October 2004
prep time: 10 mins. total time: 20 mins
1 pound haricots verts or this green beans, trimmed
½ cup pecans
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 425°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and haricots verts. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes; drain. Transfer to a serving dish.
Meanwhile, spread pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop nuts when they are cool enough to handle.
Whisk vinegar, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until emulsified. Just before serving, gentaly toss beans with vinaigrette and chopp nuts; sprinkle with zest. Serve warm.
The vinaigrette could easily be used on other vegetables - like asparagus - and be equally as great.
Here's to Martha and full bellies.