If you’re like me, sadly, the majority of my experience with green beans came from the inside of a can.  Mushy, with little flavor other than “metallic”, it seemed the only thing that made them palatable was the way my Granny Mable made them, simmered with salt and bacon… lots of bacon.  While they were tasty (did I mention the bacon?), as a kid, I didn’t think about how very few nutrients were left in them, or about the added fat and calories of the bacon.  Now, older, wiser, and with more mature taste buds, I’ve come to realize just how naturally delicious these humble legumes can be with the simplest preparation.  A little heat and some flavorful aromatics and you’ve got a beautiful, nutritious side-dish that everyone will love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1T. unsalted butter
  • 1T. olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 T.)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes

First, put a large pot of water on to boil.  Once the water is boiling, add the beans, blanch them for 2 minutes, and strain into a bowl of ice water.

Next, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and oil.  Once the butter stops foaming, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, just about 30 seconds.

Then, strain the green beans from the ice water and place in the pan.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the beans start to char a little, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Finally, sprinkle with the lemon zest and cook another minute.  Serve immediately with grilled chicken, your favorite fish, or a nice roast.

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