I just picked the first of our beans in the garden yesterday and to celebrate I wanted to do something special with them for dinner. My first picking was a combination of both green beans and wax beans, but since they were the same size I knew they would cook just fine together. I know many folks think beans are a pretty boring vegetable, but personally I love them as they go with just about any protein, and are very versatile. I prefer to blanch my beans first until they are tender crisp, and then drop them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking and keep the beans bright in color. Just before serving, I then dry off my beans and quickly sauté them with whatever flavorings I decide. When purchasing either green or wax beans, look for slender beans that are vibrant in color and free of dark spots. Fresh beans should easily snap when broken. Beans can be wrapped in paper towels and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Looking through my larder, I decided to add some sliced sautéed onion, thinly sliced garlic, and red pepper strips along with a little anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, and some lemon zest to my just picked beans. Of course I used our own extra virgin olive oil to cook everything and this easy side dish turned out exactly as planned. Since I prefer side dishes such as this one at room temperature, it is a great option for grilled meat or seafood as it can be prepared an hour or two ahead of time, giving you extra time to grill.
Deborah Mele 2014
Mixed Green & Wax Beans With Onions & Peppers
- 1 1/2 Pounds Summer Beans (Green, Wax, or Combination)
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, Cored, Seeded, And Thinly Sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled, And Thinly Sliced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste
- Finely Grated Zest From 1/2 Lemon
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/3 Cup Freshly Picked Parsley Leaves
- Rinse your beans under cold water, and snap off the pointy ends removing any tough strings that run along the length.
- Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling, then drop in the beans and cook just until tender crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain the beans, and immediately drop into a large bowl filled with ice water.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the onions.
- Cook, stirring often until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper strips and cook another 2 to 3 minutes or just until they begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Move the vegetables to the side of the pan and tip it slightly to allow the oil and vegetable juices to flow to the other side.
- Add the anchovy paste, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the oil and use a spoon to mix well.
- Drain the beans and pat dry with kitchen towels.
- Add the beans to the skillet and toss everything together, cooking just until the beans have rewarmed, about 2 minutes.
- Toss the vegetables with the fresh parsley, and immediately remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.