I was a horribly picky eater as a kid. And green beans received the majority of my contempt. I have kid
memories nightmares of the slimy, grey canned green beans that my parents forced on me. I'll never forget sitting alone at the kitchen table, one light shining on me interrogation-style with a plate of those (now cold) nasty night-crawlers while the rest of my family were having a ball watching TV. I could hear them giggling and having the time of their lives as I suffered, choking down my required allotment by swallowing them like pills with my lukewarm 2%.
If you feed kids canned vegetables, no wonder they grow up hating them. They're gross. And no wonder they freak out and sneak off to Carl's Jr. when you make them become an overnight vegan. My return to vegetables was flinchy and tentative. Delicious toasty croutons wooed me into trying caesar salad. Pasta and marinara sauce smothered spinach ravioli. When I finally, skeptically, tried actual green beans again they were pretty good. And much easier to swallow this time around. Thank God for that since I had no milk anymore to help wash them down.
These are NOT the vegetables from your midwest 1980s childhood. These are crunchy, fresh, and zingy.
And, btw? A total crowd-pleasing, dinner-party hit.
The best news of all? No milk required.
Lemony Mint Green Beans
When there's no good-looking fresh mint, I just skip it and just use lots of lemon, butter and freshly ground pepper. You could also toss in some toasted pine nuts if you felt like it. Also? This makes an awesome Thanksgiving side dish.
1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 heaping T finely chopped fresh mint
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil as you trim the beans. Blanch them for 5 minutes and drain*. Return the pot to the stove and heat the butter and olive oil. Toss in the beans, zest, juice, mint. Toss and coat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
*If you choose to do this ahead of time, plunge the blanched beans into a bowlful of icy water to stop the cooking. After a few minutes, drain onto a kitchen towel. Wrap up the beans, stick them in the fridge and continue the recipe when you're ready to serve.
Happy Labor Day weekend:)