This is one of The Wife’s favorite side dishes. It’s tempting to buy one of those nice looking packages of fresh french-cut beans, no trimming needed! However, if you’re not going to use them that same day — DON’T DO IT! We have tried multiple stores and brands and been disappointed every time. Those beans always go south by the following day. Stick with the bulk green beans - just grab a bagful (about 50% more than you think you’ll need - you lose a lot to trimming and ugly bits). If you’re lucky — as we recently were — one of your friends or neighbors might be growing beans and have a surplus! Those are even better!
Total time: 35 minutes (25 if your beans don’t need trimming)
Fill-o-meter: A good solid side dish
Leftover potential: Never had any to evaluate
Wife’s rating: Yum!
4 cups green beans (a bit less if already cleaned and trimmed)
6 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Large saute pan
Large pot (optional)
Cooking spoon (or spoonula *)
Colander or strainer (large)
Large bowl (optional)
No advance prep needed
* Note: The spoonula is a very handy hybrid kitchen tool - combining the features of a cooking spoon and a spatula. We use it all the time and probably should get another one (or two).
Boil the water
If you’re using the saute pan, fill it about 1/2 way with water. For a pot, use 1 quart or water per cup of beans. Bring it to a full boil.
Clean the beans
Gauge your quantities according to the rest of the meal. We usually figure about 2 cups per person before trimming.
Rinse the beans under cold running water
Trim the ends (optional) and stems (if present)
Parboil the beans
Add the beans to the boiling water. Once the water boils again, cook for 2 minutes. Don’t walk away and do something else - timing is essential on this one. The beans are done as soon as they brighten in color, or after 2 minutes, whichever comes first. If you cook them too long, they’ll return to a dull green and they’ll end up being overcooked (limp and mushy).
Drain the beans in a colander and rinse under cold water
Note: If you’re not going to cook them right away, plunge them into a bowl of cold (iced) water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.
Heat the large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. If you like your beans charred, use a higher heat and shorten the cooking time.
When the pan is hot, add 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and heat it for 30 seconds or so.
When the oil is shimmery, add the beans, salt and pepper to taste and stir to evenly coat.
If you like to beans a little charred, push the heat up.
Remember to stir every few minutes
Add a little more oil if the pan seems too dry
Cook until the beans are almost done
Prepare the garlic
Mince 6 cloves of garlic, more or less to taste. We sometimes use an entire bulb
About 3 minutes before serving, reduce the heat on the pan to medium, add the minced garlic and stir well to distribute over the beans.
Note: Whatever you do, don’t overcook the garlic or it will turn bitter
Heap these onto your plates next to your main course