Green beans have always been one of my favorite foods. Fresh in the garden, or “steeped” in boiling water for just a few minutes – there is just something about the crunchiness and juiciness of green beans that has always reminded me of home. Here, we’ve combined them with a northwest original – toasted hazelnuts (filberts to some). And while they are technically still a legume, the majority of what we are consuming with green beans is the immature hull surrounding the seeds, comprised mostly of fiber and vegetable matter similar to other greens. Does that make them an ideal food – certainly not…but in our eyes, for a little indulgence now and again, it certainly makes them much less of a concern as a side dish than a heaping pile of pasta or warm bread.
I will give you a warning up front…this recipe uses butter. But that’s OK, so long as you stick with grass-fed butter and don’t make it every night. Like I said, this one is meant for an indulgence now and again…
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup grass-fed butter
- 1-1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1-1/2 tsp sake
Start out toasting the hazelnuts by getting a skillet heating over medium-high heat. When hot, toss in the nuts and mix around while heating until toasted and turning golden brown but before the start to burn (which will leave a harsh taste). Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a prep bowl.
Meanwhile, get a large stock pot with a perforated insert (or colander inserted) full of water heating to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, throw in the beans and turn off the heat. Let the beans steep for about 3 minutes in the hot water, then pull the colander and place in the sink. Dump the hot water over the top to drain the pot, then return the empty pot to the stove.
Turn the heat on to medium heat and melt the butter in the bottom of the pot. Add in the green beans, vinegar, and sake and toss to coat and heat – about two minutes. Your goal is to have the beans warm all the way through, but not soft.
Finally, toss immediately with the hazelnuts and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm along side whatever main dish you’ve got served. And if there are any leftovers, warm them just enough to re-melt the butter and heat the beans a little before enjoying them the second time around.