Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Sometimes I wish there was a kind of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced chocolate covered vegetables instead of candy ūüôā ¬† ¬†OK, call me crazy, but don’t you think that sort of factory would be totally AMAZING? ¬† Be honest now‚Ķ.you want it. ¬† There’s no shame in that.

Since there’s no fantasy-land vegetable candy factory (not yet, anyway), I’ve had to settle for roasting a big ole batch of green beans with shallots and garlic and then tossing them with some soy sauce and sesame oil. ¬†They weren’t chocolate covered, but we ate them like candy. ¬†What’s with me going on about candy?—-enough, already.

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Haven’t you ever considered grilling green beans? ¬† This is a fantastic approach, giving the vegetables a little smoky char. ¬†A grill basket or similar grill-top devise exposes all the surfaces to the flame, but if you don’t have a grill basket, ¬†grill them on a piece of heavy-duty foil. ¬†Be sure you don’t skip the step of covering them and letting the mixture stand, so it all steams to perfect doneness during that time.

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The flavor of these beans is extraordinary. Kind of like something you expect to get in a fine restaurant.   We loved them and I think you will too. So while fresh green beans are still available at the market, give them a try.

GRILLED GREAN BEANS

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:IMG_8096

  • 3 large shallots or 1 small red onion, vertically sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed ( I used a mixture of green beans and wax beans)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Directions:

1.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2.  Place a grill basket on hot grill; preheat for 5 minutes.

3.  Place shallots, garlic, and green beans in a large bowl.  Drizzle with canola oil; toss well to coat.

Toss vegetables with olive oil.

Toss vegetables with canola oil.

Arrange mixture in hot grill basket; cover grill, and cook 7 minutes or until beans are lightly charred, tossing occasionally.

Toss occasionally for even cooking and browning.

Toss occasionally for even cooking and browning.

Place bean mixture in a large bowl; cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Add soy sauce and remaining ingredients; toss to combine.  Serve hot.

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SOURCE:   COOKING LIGHT

Not Your Mother’s Green Bean Casserole

Green Beans and Mushrooms with Fried Onions

Green Beans and Mushrooms with Fried Onions

One side dish that my family loves is Green Bean Casserole. ¬†Over the holidays I made it ” from scratch”, and lightened it up by making a thinner mushroom sauce. ¬† I have been meaning to tell you about it, but there has been so much to cover I ¬† ¬†never got around to it. ¬†So while it’s fresh in my mind, let me share with you how I made it. ¬†It definitely does NOT contain canned or frozen green beans, or canned condensed cream of mushroom soup. ¬†What it does contain is fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms, cream sauce made with real cream and crisp fried onions. The fresh mushrooms give this dish a deep meaty flavor that just doesn’t compare with the canned soup version. ¬† We all thought it was wonderful, and maybe you will, too.

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NOT THE CLASSIC (YOUR MOTHER’S) GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Yield:   Serves 6, or more if  a) you have lots of sides on the table or b) use the higher amount (1.5 Р2 pounds) of green beans.

Fried Onions:IMG_5761

  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. panko or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • canola, safflower, or other high-heat oil, for frying

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped

    What you need for the mushroom sauce.

    What you need for the mushroom sauce.

  • few gratings fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 ¬†1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Assembly:

1.  1 to 2  pounds green beans, washed well, tips and tails removed.  You may leave them whole or cut to desired length.

2. ¬†Make crispy onions: ¬† Toss onions with flour, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. ¬†Heat 1/2-inch or so of oil in a 12-inch skillet until a drop of water flicked into it will hiss and sputter. ¬†Add onions, just a handful at a time in something close to a single layer, and fry until a light golden brown (they’ll get more color in the oven).

Fry onions in a single layer.  Don't crowd the pan.

Fry onions in a single layer. Don’t crowd the pan.

Remove with a large slotted spoon, letting oil drip off, back into the skillet.  Spread onions out on paper towels to drain.  Repeat with remaining onions.  Set aside until needed;  this makes a lot.

Spread on paper towels to drain.

Spread on paper towels to drain.

More onions.....

More onions…..

3.  Prepare the beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and boil beans for 5 minutes, till crisp tender.  Drain beans, and rinse until cold water to stop the cooking action.  Drain again, and set aside.

Cooking the green beans.

Cooking the green beans.

Preheat the oven to 400*F   Spray or lightly grease a large baking dish.

4.  Make the mushroom sauce:  Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of a 12-inch skillet.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté them until they start releasing their liquid,  about 3 Р5 minutes, depending on how you cut them.  Add the garlic and sauté one minute more.  Add the flour and stir it until it fully coats the mushrooms.  Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring the whole time.

Mushrooms simmering in the broth.

Mushrooms simmering in the broth.

Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens a bit about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

With cream added.

With cream added.

5.  Assemble and bake:  Add cooked green beans to sauce and stir until they are coated.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Green beans coated with sauce.

Green beans coated with sauce.

Sprinkle crispy onions over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and onions are a shade darker.

Sprinkle fried onions over the top and bake till bubbly and browned.

Sprinkle fried onions over the top and bake till bubbly and browned.

A few notes:

1. ¬†This makes a LOT of crispy onions. ¬†I didn’t mind, but you could probably make half the amount and stretch it over the whole casserole. ¬†If you make the full amount, you could save some of the excess for snacking or to put on those leftover turkey sandwiches.

2. ¬†The sauce is somewhat thin even though it does coat the beans. ¬† If you want it thicker so it coats and clings well to the beans, you can make it thicker by using 1 extra tablespoon butter and 1 extra tablespoon flour in the sauce–i.e. more roux makes thicker sauce. ¬†Also be sure to drain the beans well, and even perhaps pat them dry with paper towels, so they don’t liquify the sauce.

3.  There is enough sauce in the recipe to adequately coat up to 2-pounds of beans, so if you like a more vegetable-heavy dish use the larger quantity of beans.

SOURCE:    Adapted from Alton Brown,  Food Network