My sister prepared string beans using this recipe while our families spent a week together in the Poconos this past summer.
We set up a buffet on the kitchen counter, and when cleanup time arrived, the only empty bowl was the one that had formerly housed these beans. Yes, the beans were wonderfully fresh, bought that morning from the local farmers’ market. But, still, they were string beans — not generally a draw.
The alchemy of browned butter and garlic made them absolutely irresistible: Several staunchly carnivorous nephews returned for seconds and thirds. Try the method with just about any steamed vegetable; it’s a winner.
I made the dish at home using purple string beans, which taste exactly like green (or wax) beans but they start a deep eggplant color. When they cook, the color fades to green, but if you just barely blanche them, as directed below, they will retain some of the purple hue.
More Veggies, Please Beans
Serves two to four
1 quart fresh string beans, stems removed
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Generous pinch salt, generous sprinkle of pepper
- Blanch the beans: In a large pot, bring about 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Immerse the beans for a minute or two until they are bright green, and then drain and douse them in cold water to stop cooking.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter with garlic, salt and pepper over medium-low heat until the butter begins to brown and the garlic is brown and crispy. Do not burn the garlic. The butter mixture will have a slightly nutty aroma and flavor.
- Toss the blanched beans in the skillet and stir to coat them thoroughly with the butter mixture. Serve hot or at room temperature.