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Monday, December 12, 2011

Super Side #1

The holiday season is the perfect time to share two sides that I have enjoyed since childhood and still make regularly. In fact, they'll be on the table for Christmas Eve dinner. My mother passed both of these recipes on to me, and she got them from her mother. This is three-generation, time tested, family-and-friends approved deliciousness, and I am so happy to share them with you.

Green beans are pretty much my favorite vegetable, and they're a very popular side dish during the holidays. Here's a simple, elegant and oh-so-tasty way to prepare them.

Green beans with shallots and parsley
serves two

1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup snipped or chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely diced shallots
salt and pepper to taste

The great thing about this recipe is that half of it can be done in advance, even a day before you serve them. The other great thing is that they are parboiled and then sauteed to perfection, instead of steamed to death.

So, first, set a pan of water to boil. Take your beans and trim the stem ends, not both ends. When I first started doing this, I'd trim both ends. Waste of time and of bean.

When your water is boiling, throw in the beans.

After about five minutes, test their doneness by stabbing, randomly and passionately, the boiling beans with a fork. When you get something that looks like this...

They're done! Now drain them.

I used to dump them in ice water (like the next side I'll show you), but I've found that doing so made them water logged, limp and bendy. This way, they stay springier, with a very subtle bite to them after you saute them. So, no ice water, ladies and germs, but keep them in the sieve and dump some ice on top.

Run cold water over the ice to get them all melty and to start the cool down process.

That's the do-in-advance part! So easy, and now we're well on our way to a fantastic side. Once they're cool to the touch (I usually wait 5-10 minutes), remove the ice and dump the beans on clean paper towels:

So pretty! Now let's chop up those accoutrements:

Notice I'm using white onions. The recipe calls for shallots and I tell you shallots because they're much tastier. But these are tough economic times. If all you have are red onions or yellow onions, then go for it.
Heat up a skillet on medium and melt your butter. Once it's hot and the butter is melted, toss in those gorgeous haricots verts:

Toss them a bit and after a few minutes, add the supporting cast:

And then.... wait for tomorrow's post!

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