Pairing Green Beans with Strong Flavors
Green beans don’t get enough attention in the culinary world, and I think that should change. They are super versatile, tasty, and they are a cinch to cook.
One of my all-time favorite dishes is Szechuan green beans that get “dry fried” in a scalding hot wok with chilies, garlic, soy, and mirin. The high heat prevents them from over-cooking (which is the ultimate faux-pas for this veggie), and the grassy green beans are mellowed out by the salt and heat.
Green beans are also lovely for food service kitchens because the can be blanched, shocked, and cooled until they are needed. Green beans pair really well with strong flavors like pecans, balsamic vinegar, blue cheese, white wine, and garlic.
When peas aren’t in-season, I love throwing handfuls of chopped green beans into my risotto, especially if they are kept slightly al dente. And nothing brings more body and volume to a plate than a tangle of perfectly roasted or sauteed green beans.
Try dredging them in tempura batter in small handfuls and deep frying little bundles of them together. The presentation is gorgeous, and they hold their shape very well!
This is an elegant and deceptively simply salad that will leave you curiously addicted to green beans. The dressing can be made ahead of time, and you you’ll want to make a double batch to keep in the fridge. Trust me.
Japanese Style Green Beans with Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 cups green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbs vegetable oil
⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Throw in the green beans and allow them to cook for just a minute or so, or until they just begin to blister.
Place the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and process to a paste; be careful not to over-process into tahini-like smoothness — you want it to have texture.
Toss with the green beans and serve warm, or room temp.
About the Chef
Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.