Sunday, December 30, 2012

Green Beans with Toasted Almonds and Lemon

Every other year, Clare and I spend Thanksgiving with her parents.  Clare's parents, Frank and Geri, have a tradition of spending the holiday with some longtime family friends.  All of these families consider themselves to be extensions of one another, creating one big family for the holiday.  

Both Frank and I love to cook; and, when it comes to preparing the Thanksgiving meal, we are both more than willing to do our part.  This year, the hosts had not only a gargantuan turkey (over twenty pounds if I recall correctly), but bags of fresh green beans. I will readily admit that I am not a fan of green beans. I usually steer clear of them whenever ordering at restaurants and I do not use the ingredient very often in my own cooking.  However, we needed a vegetable for the dinner, and, the green beans were that vegetable.  

What happened next is a collaboration between Frank and myself.  We decided to blanch the green beans to keep their color, and, just before the meal was ready, we would saute the beans in a little butter, add some toasted almonds and parsley.  We would finish the side dish with some lemon juice to add some acidity and lightness to the dish. The end result was a green bean dish that even I liked.  

A Chef Bolek Collaboration with Frank Savage
Serves 2

1/2 pound of green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 to 1/3 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of parsley flakes
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1/4 lemon, juiced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1.  Blanche the green beans.  Bring a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to a rapid boil.  Add the green beans to the pot and cook for two to four minutes, depending upon the size of the beans.  Prepare a bowl full of ice water.  After the beans have cooked, remove them from the boiling water and place them into the ice bath.  Drain the beans and set them aside.

2.  Toast the almonds.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spread the almonds on a sheet pan.  Place the sheet pan in the oven.  Toast the almonds until they begin to turn brown.  Remove from the oven. 

3.  Saute the green beans.  Heat the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add the beans and saute for about three minutes until they are warmed through.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Sprinkle the almonds, the crushed red pepper and the parsley flakes.  Finish with lemon juice.  Serve immediately.


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