Has anyone else noticed that many Thanksgiving vegetable recipes seem to be for the toothless? The recipes all start with 'creamy' and 'cheesy' and end with 'mash' and 'purée'. Where's the crunch in Thanksgiving? I love these as much as the next Thanksgiving turkey but still, think that every Thanksgiving menu should include a vegetable that retains its farm form.
Now, before anyone gets the idea that these beans are, say, diet food, think butter, think browned butter, think browned butter with golden niblets of pine nuts. Think celebration, think feast. These beans are an ultimate Thanksgiving vegetable.
GREEN BEANS WITH BROWNED BUTTER & PINE NUTS
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4 - 8
1 quart water
1 tablespoon table salt
1 pound fresh green beans, tails topped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (yes, more salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the beans, cover and let cook at fast simmer for about 5 - 7 minutes until nearly done. Drain.
Return the hot pot to the stove. Melt the butter on MEDIUM heat. Add the pine nuts and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly until the butter browns and the pine nuts turn mostly golden or brown. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the green beans and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Add the pepper and additional salt if needed.
TO PREP AHEAD
DAY BEFORE Cook the beans, drain and then let rest for 1 minute in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and dry thoroughly. Refrigerate.
BEFORE DINNER Return beans to room temperature. In a large skillet, make the browned butter and proceed.
The inspiring recipe suggested roughly chopping the pine nuts and I think this would be a good idea, it might help give them rough edges that would adhere to the beans, so they don't all fall to the bottom of the serving dish.
Pine nuts will turn/burn in a flash so do keep stirring as specified. It's too easy to get distracted and lose them.
Could we get away with less butter and fewer pine nuts? Yes. Next time I'll use 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup pine nuts.
What's with all the salt? Why not add it at once? First, plenty of salt in the cooking water transforms beans! Second, my instinct says that the salt is added in stages so that the flavors get layered, the butter is extra salty, the beans then get another small burst of saltiness that's not absorbed into the butter. These beans are gorgeous, and not the least bit 'too salty'.
~ Of course! World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~
~ Green Beans with Onion & Almond ~
~ Slooow Country Green Beans ~
~ more green bean recipes ~
~ Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes 2008 ~
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