I can say now that I have a newfound respect for the long, green vegetables that in my memories were usually surrounded in boiling, briney fluid. I’ve come to respect the crunch and vibrancy of a fresh, unsnapped green bean and the peas within. I began experimenting with the vegetable last year, when they became hard to ignore at the farmers market and the produce section at Kroger. If you’d like to experience the green bean in a new way, try these two recipes, and you might just find yourself awakened to a handful of new possibilities for the vegetable once only relegated to the status of “side item.”
Green beans stir-fried
makes 2 servings
1 large handful fresh green beans
Half square of tofu (or 2 servings of other meat of choice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Ponzu sauce
½ tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ginger
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup jasmine or brown rice
One hour before, drain tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes. Prepare rice according to package directions. In a wok or large skillet, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and sesame oil. Heat over medium, adding the garlic once the wok heats up. Add the ginger and red pepper flakes, then the tofu, frying the cubes until they are slightly golden. Add a bit of soy sauce or ponzu at this point. This will flavor the tofu. Add the green beans, flipping them in the wok as they cook. Add the rest of the soy and ponzu. Cook for 3-4 minutes. The green beans should be cooked but still crisp and vibrant.
Serve over the rice, adding soy, ponzu or Sriracha to taste.
Parmesan green beans
makes 2-3 servings
Several handfuls of fresh green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon
½ cup parmesan cheese
Begin with a large skillet over medium. Add the olive oil and garlic, frying until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the green beans and spread over the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes until the green beans are cooked but still crisp. Turn the heat off and squeeze the half-lemon over the green beans, then add the parmesan into the pan. Allow the cheese to melt for several minutes as the green beans cool. Serve with your favorite entree or enjoy with a crunchy piece of bread.