This past Sunday, we had a new — to us — version of risotto that involved fresh lemon juice (you’ll read about that in tomorrow’s post) and we needed a side to go along with it. Preferably a really simple side, since we would be spending a lot of time stirring and cooking the risotto. As it turned out, Green Beans Amandine fit the bill perfectly. Easy and tasty, plus it also uses just a touch of lemon, which would help tie everything together.
While many people think that Green Beans Amandine is simply green beans garnished with almonds, it is just slightly more complicated, which helps to bring out some of the flavors in both the beans and the almonds. This is based on the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
Oh, and it is amandine, not almondine.
Use fresh green beans. About a month ago, we picked up several bags of frozen vegetables at the store. You know how it is; they were cheap, and, being frozen, they couldn’t be all that bad, right? Well, to be honest, we still have half a bag of frozen green beans just sitting in the freezer waiting for a soup or a casserole — any place the lack of flavor and crispness won’t be noticed. We also bought organic. Now, some people will tell you that, nutritionally, organic produce isn’t any better than produce grown with pesticides. That may be true, but it’s probably better for those people working in the fields. And better for the soil, too. Yes, if possible, use freshly-squeezed lemon juice. There’s something about lemon juice from a bottle that doesn’t taste quite right .
Procedure in detail:
Steam green beans. It would be best if we could have julienned the beans, but, we couldn’t, so after washing and trimming off the tops and tails, we just cut them into 1-inch long pieces. You do what you can, and, in this case, it was better than getting a portion of our finger in the beans. We think you’ll agree. Put the beans in a medium saucepan, add about 1/2-inch of water, cover, and steam over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.
Fry almonds. While the green beans are steaming, fry the almonds in butter over low heat, until toasted and crispy, about 10 minutes. You’ll want to stir occasionally so the almonds don’t burn. It’s okay if the butter browns a bit (but doesn’t burn); that will add a hint of flavor.
Add lemon juice. When the almonds are toasted, add the lemon juice, stir, and remove from heat.
Plate beans. Once the beans are tender, drain them and place on a plate. Drizzle the sauce and toasted almonds over the top.
Taking the few extra minutes to fry the almonds in butter is definitely worth it. It’s not that much trouble and it makes ordinary steamed green beans seem fancy. That said, we’ll admit that we often have green beans plain, too. But, that’s mainly because the side vegetables often get forgotten until the last minute, when it’s too late to add a little extra. What a shame; with a little more planning, we could be eating fancy all the time. Four stars.