Valley Bounty: Green Beans

Green beans are one of those vegetables that can begin to feel like a known quantity after a while; frequently featured blanched or steamed as the green element of the standard protein-vegetable-starch dinner plate, they are capable of much more variety than their fairly unassuming place in our cultural imagination might betray.

Green beans are easy to overcook. A quick blanch or steam, just enough to brighten their color, is plenty, though I much prefer mine sautéed lightly in oil or butter. Once cooked, green beans are flexible enough to accommodate a number of different flavor profiles. Try tossing them in: toasted almonds and caramelized shallots, for something earthy and slightly sweet; lemon juice and some grated parmesan cheese, to bring some acidity and salt to your plate; or teriyaki sauce and chopped bacon (honestly, this one goes well with just about anything).

Green beans also take well to pickling. Try making easy refrigerator-pickled green beans, or “dilly beans”, by placing lightly blanched beans in a jar with vinegar, water, salt, sugar, fresh dill, and some whole peppercorns and letting sit in your refrigerator for a few days before eating.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell