Green beans are the quintessential vegetable. They are green, they are packed with nutrition, they have some flavor and its mostly not bad. These qualities make them ideally suited to be the third thing on the plate after meat and potatoes. The classic French treatment is to dip them in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, remove them, shock them in cold water, then reheat them in butter. This method has these advantages; it produces lovely green green beans, it cooks them evenly all the way through, and it produces a buttery outside which we love. Love them though we might for their great virtues, at the end of the week we can only eat so many plates of boiled or steamed or sauted green beans - with or without almonds.
There are other treatments for green beans. They may not be the first thing we plop into soups, but they do fare nicely in casseroles because the blend in without getting lost. Creative chefs puree them and use them in vegetarian pates and mousses. They play nicely with other onions, beans, butter and artichoke hearts in these preparations.
Here are some strategies for treating green beans effectively in recipes.
Copyright S.R. Brubaker 2002 - 2006.