Friday, February 20, 2009

On the Side: Parsley Cashew Green Beans

Not long ago green beans won a spot on the short but growing list of veggies enjoyed by resident youngsters. We've been eating them a lot so I've been dishing them out all sorts of ways: with pesto, with shallots and a smidgen of pancetta, Szechuan style (sauteed in sesame/canola oil with lots of garlic and chili flakes) and, shown above, with parsley and cashews.

It's not hard to make fresh green beans taste great; many a cook would add a pat of butter and call it a great day. But in the Pinch kitchen, where butter is only used for baking, more thought goes into cooked veggies. Plus, the extra flavors make a new vegetable more familiar for my kids who are accustomed to fresh herbs and garlic.

As for the green bean vs. haricot vert choice, I'm partial to the elegant haricot vert (I like my asparagus on the slender side as well) but will buy any beautiful green bean. It amazes me how frequently markets put out sorry looking green beans. Haricots verts are quite versatile - fine on their own, but also good as an addition. They're especially great mixed in with thin spaghetti; they're such great team players they practically wind around your fork.

Parsley Cashew Green Beans
Print recipe only here

Serves 4 as a side dish

8 oz haricots verts or green beans
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch crushed chili flakes
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
2 T cashews, finely chopped

Trim bottoms off green beans, rinse and set aside.

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chili flakes and garlic and saute briefly. Add grean beans and saute 1-2 minutes. Add parsley and cashews and continue to saute until cooked to your liking. Add kosher salt to taste and serve.

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