"If you have never tried cooking green vegetables this way, you will be amazed at how beautiful they look, how fresh and full of flavor the taste, and you will begin to feel like the French, who look upon vegetables not merely as a necessary nutrients but as the gastronomical delights they are meant to be." -Julia Child
This is an almost embarrassingly simple recipe - but it's one of those vegetable dishes the meat-and-potato crowd will usually eat without complaint. And it really is a good choice for a steak and baked potato meal because the beans aren't bland.
I'm also hoping you'll try the French method of cooking beans: boil them in a lot of water until almost done, then "shocking" them in a ice water bath to halt the cooking. The beans keep their lovely green color and fresh taste. I know this sounds a bit scandalous to those that usually steam vegetables, but give it a try. Note that the lemon-butter sauce is also good on cooked, fresh broccoli, and you can tweak the amount of lemon juice to suit your taste.
This serves 2-4 people, depending on how many green vegetables you eat (or require others to consume). Enjoy!
Lemon Green Beans
•10 oz. (285 g) fresh green beans
•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (don't use the bottled kind, please)
•1 tablespoon (16 g) butter
•Freshly ground pepper
•Optional: lemon zest for garnish
1. Fill a dutch oven about three-quarters full and bring to a boil.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, snap the ends of the beans (or trim with a knife). Rinse in a colander and set aside.
3. When the water has come to a full boil, slip the beans into the pot for the first cooking. Start checking at about 5 minutes, the cooking time will vary depending on the length and thickness of your beans). While you're waiting, fill a large bowl with ice water and set it near the sink.
4. Do your first taste test - you want the beans to lose their woody "crunch" but not be in any way soft. No, we aren't going for that barely-cooked "crisp-tender" stuff.
5. When the beans are ready, drain them in a colander and transfer them to the ice water bath. After a few minutes, drain off the cold water and set aside the beans until right before serving time.
6. To finish off the dish, melt the butter in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the lemon juice, then the beans, and toss to coat the vegetables with the sauce. Keep the beans moving so they get warmed through but do not burn.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to serving plates. If you want to get fancy — or warn dining companions about the lemon seasoning — garnish each serving with a few threads of lemon zest.
8. Dig in and enjoy the compliments.