Although I named this post after a simple recipe, it could very well be “How I Came to Love the Humble Green Bean.” Something about their texture just wasn’t for me. I’d made them many ways – steamed, sautéed, grilled… but I couldn’t get past their waxy squeakiness. You know what I’m talking about, right? They almost make a noise when you bite into them.
A recent trip to the farmer’s market, my favorite summer adventure, led me to give them one more chance. I find that making my way to different markets always lends a unique experience. Different growers, different specialities, different vibes.
Bushels of the green “snakes” were waiting to be preserved into spicy dilly beans, but I’ve never had much luck with that. Instead I took some home with the recommendation of the young man behind the table who said, “Blister them – not on the stovetop but in a really hot oven. They’ll transform from cold and tough to charred and crisp.”
I’ve found that more often than not, the hands that grow what we eat know best. The thermometer rose higher and higher throughout the day, but I trusted the young man. Soon I was cranking up the oven to let the magic happen.
As I could hear them sizzling and sputtering, I thought about the power of in-person connections, and how they will never be replaced by online/social interaction. Ever.
Hot and crispy, I popped them into my mouth, straight off the pan…….. And silently thanked the young gentlemen for convincing me that green beans could find a way to my heart.
To brighten them I added a splash of fresh lemon juice (tip: a little acid always brings out the best in vegetables) and dill. And for texture, crushed almonds were the perfect last minute addition.
So simple – five ingredients, one pan, lots of flavor. I know some of you are married to your traditional way of cooking green beans but if you’re looking for a new version, this blistering technique is a winner. And when you’re on your next market adventure, don’t hesitate to ask the lovely person behind the stall for a few tips. Their advice might just change your mind on some humble vegetable.
(video filmed by the talented Jennifer Simonson, who is located here in Minneapolis)