We all know how grilling brings out some really tasty flavors in foods. Those little charred bits are always just so tasty. But, what do you do if you want to achieve those charred flavors, but you don’t want to be bothered firing up the grill? We have the answer.
Basically, we made up this side to go along with our polenta this past week. We had some green beans that had been sitting in the crisper for almost a week. Long enough that they were getting a bit limp, but not so long that they couldn’t be salvaged. So, we thought, how could we use them? Well, the first thing that came to mind was to grill them, right along with the polenta, but we could just see green beans slipping between the gratings and into the ashes. No, we don’t have a grilling basket. Then, we thought, well, let’s run them under the broiler. That would work, too, except that the oven was in use at the time. Out with the broiler and in with the skillet.
Makes 2 servings.
Okay, not really an ingredient, but you’ll probably want to use a cast-iron skillet here. And definitely fresh green beans. The oil, we recommend olive oil, but it isn’t adding flavor here, so just use one that’s mild and has a high smoking point — canola would work, or peanut, or corn oil.
Procedure in detail:
Heat skillet and oil. You’ll want to get the skillet really hot. We set it to medium heat, added the oil, and watched and waited until the oil just began to smoke. Watch carefully, you don’t want the oil to catch fire, which it can, quite easily.
Add beans. When the oil is really hot, toss in the green beans. Try to get them in a single layer, and then let them sizzle, adjusting heat if necessary. Resist the urge to stir; just let them blacken a bit on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir. Stir around the beans, but really try to flip them over so the other side can blacken, too. Once flipped as best you can, cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Salt and serve. Sprinkle with kosher salt, and serve immediately.
Yum!. Green bean cooked like this are a real step up from the typical steamed or boiled green beans. The blackening really brings out the flavor and some sweetness, and, that touch of salt really complements the sweetness. The only thing that we’d change would be to add just a few shavings of Parmesan cheese on top just before serving. That little bit of umami flavor from the cheese would make them perfect. Five stars, because anything this easy shouldn’t taste this good!