This is one of my favorite ways to cook green beans – five ingredients, one pan. I know some of you are married to your traditional way of cooking, but if you're looking for a new version in the market, give this recipe a try.
Plain green beans
I cook green beans a few times a week at certain times of the year, and I keep coming back to this version, with its somewhat peculiar combination of ingredients. It's light and bright, healthy and tasty. Just cook some chopped leeks (or spring onions) until golden and a little crispy, toss in some chopped dill, then add the green beans. Do your best not to overcook them and you're done. If this recipe isn't quite your jam but you love beans, try this green bean salad, those yellow wax beans and spring onions, feisty green beans (so good!), Or that yellow bean salad.
Side dish against main course
While I've written this recipe as a side dish, you can easily take it to main dish status. I sometimes use the grilled green beans to fill omelets (along with some goat cheese). Alternatively, you can add tofu, tempeh or seitan to the pan with the beans (sautéed until they are nicely browned or golden brown). Or you can make a main salad by serving the beans over lightly dressed butter salad and throwing in a few raviolis. There are lots of instructions on how to take this one!
I think this goes without saying, but do your best to find really good beans. They should be light green and snap into place a little as you flex. Avoid anything leathery, including beans that are limp, stained, soft, mushy, or mangy.
As I note in the recipe below, this is best made to order just before serving. I don't like hot green beans after sitting around for a long time – they lose their vibrancy and texture and taste change when they cook on their own. That said, there is a way to prepare the main components if you run them for Thanksgiving.
How to go on
You can make this recipe a day in advance by boiling the leek and dill first and setting aside. Instead of boiling the beans in a pan, blanch them in a saucepan of boiling, well-salted water for about a minute. Drain the beans and dip them in a large bowl of ice water to finish cooking. Drain and set aside until ready to use. Combine the components before serving – you can do this at room temperature or heat quickly in a pan or pan before serving.