Nov 1, 2018

Lean and Green






Green beans go by many different aliases.  They are referred as French beans, snap beans or squeaky beans in some southern parts of the United States.   Similar varieties include the yard-long bean; a very long cousin.  There are over 130 varieties of green bean.

While green beans are commonly referred to as string beans most varieties no longer actually have the fibrous “string” that runs down the length of the older species. In 1894 the first "stringless" bean was cultivated in New York, leading to lots of time saved for string bean lovers. 

Haricots verts are French green beans that are very thin and very tender. If your recipe specifies haricot verts and you are unable to find them, substitute with the thinnest green beans you can find.

When preparing string beans, snap off only the root end—leave the tapered tail as is.  That’s the pretty part! Green beans are delicious raw or cooked—but never overcooked.  Once they’ve lost their bright emerald color, lots of taste and nutrients go too.

Green beans are picked while still immature and the inner bean is just beginning to form. Although green beans vary in size they average about four inches in length. They are usually deep green in color and come to a slight point at either end. They contain tiny seeds within their thin pods.
Green beans are extremely low in calories—just 43 calories in a whole cup—and are loaded with nutrients. Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Plus green beans are very good source of vitamins and minerals. Clearly we should be finding ways of adding green beans to our diets as often as possible. Try taking a bagful of green beans to work as a late afternoon pick-me-up. You can enjoy them with a techina or chummus dip.

Fresh green beans should feel smooth and have a vibrant green color, without any brown spots or bruises. They should be firm and snap when broken.  Store unwashed fresh beans pods in a plastic bag kept in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.




1 pound green beans
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, chopped

Dressing:
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh dill, checked and chopped
3 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard or yellow mustard
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Trim green beans and steam for 5 to 8 minutes. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender; about 15 minutes. Cool green beans and potatoes and place in a bowl.
Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl or salad dressing bottle.

Add diced pepper and onion to the cooled green beans and potatoes; top with dressing and toss to combine.  Serve at room temperature.




2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed 
Kosher salt 
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 pound pastrami (preferably well marbled) 
1 small onion, finely chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans 
Juice of 1/2 lemon



Bring a 6 quart pot of water to a boil with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Toss the green beans into the pot and cook until bright green in color and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and shock in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the beans again and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large fry pan over medium heat.  Slice the pastrami into thin strips. Cook the pastrami until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pastrami to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until soft and very tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until just fragrant, about 1 more minute. Add the reserved green beans and the pecans and cook until heated through, 3-4 minutes more. Return the pastrami to the pan, pour in the lemon juice and toss. Season with additional salt as desired.


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