Please don’t abandon me for continuing to suggest that you fry things. I know I started this column as a way to offer healthy and slightly different ways to serve up local fruits and vegetables, and I also know that, of late, I’ve just been peer pressuring you to make things crispy with high temperatures and too much fat.
But you needed to know about the fried tomatoes. (Did you make them yet? I hope you made them. Life will be better once you make them.)
And you need to know about frying green beans, too.
First of all, green beans are prolific right now, so once again, I’m not going to make a market recommendation. As previously mentioned, my people-unit really enjoys driving around and finding roadside stands. We might visit five before deciding, yes, these green beans look the best we’ve seen all day. Let’s buy 8 pounds.
(Can we talk for a second, too, about the delightful continued existence of the honor-system cashbox at some of these stands? The world is not such an awful place, is it? It’s my personal karmic belief that if you steal from an unattended roadside produce stand, you’re going to choke on whatever you take. And if you only take the money, you’re going to suffer terrible paper cuts every time you touch it. And rightfully so.)
Did you know: There are over 130 varieties of green beans. Huh. They come in other pod colors (red, purple and streaked, for example), and there are even heirloom varieties.
By all means, can and preserve your green beans. But should you find yourself needing to jazz up their side dish role, get yourself some good moldy cheese and try your hand at my version of greens beans almondine – not just for holidays anymore, and fancy, but not too fancy for a weeknight meal.
Fancy fried green beans (adapted from Foodie Tots)
- 2 lbs fresh green beans, washed and with ends trimmed
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts (Walnuts are cheaper than sliced or slivered almonds, and I like them better.)
- 1 large shallot or one small sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons of butter (I’ll apologize for the butter. But it’s not like you’re going to make this every night, right? Feel free to use the more heart-healthy olive oil.)
- 1 lemon, grated for the zest
- 2-4 ounces of crumbled blue cheese (or Gorgonzola if you can’t handle the mold)
- Dash of salt and pepper (Don’t overdo it because the cheese is quite salty.)
Melt the butter or warm the oil in a skillet and fry the green beans and shallot or onion, turning and moving them around often so the beans don’t sear. Give them a good 10-15 minutes and they really will get crispy, but they’ll cook in less time than that if you’re impatient. Once they’re done to your liking, transfer them to a serving bowl and top with the walnuts, cheese and lemon zest.
I mean, how easy was that?
The minimal effort you put in to get this amount of flavor out of green beans – which are, of course, delicious on their own – makes this recipe so worth it. These would be great alongside grilled salmon, but you can upgrade them to a main entrée by placing them on top of a pile of whole-grain pilaf or a wild rice medley.
Still mad at me for frying things?