Green beans are a veggie I have been behind since day one, even if the first memories I have of eating green beans were in canned form! Call me a green bean purist, but I shudder when I think that there was a time in my life when I would eat and even enjoy canned green beans. Maybe it was just the fact that I was a little kid or simply a product of the 90s where eating canned/processed foods were more acceptable, but I believe I recall wee little Ali actually enjoying the taste of those salty, mushy green beans. Yuck! I guess I'll forgive my adolescent self for a bad judgment call just this once…
Even though I take a hard pass on canned green bean these days, green beans, like real green beans, are still to this day one of my favorite veggies. Ever since I started to cook for myself in college, I would have them in stock on the reg. From blanching them and sauteeing them to charred perfection with jammy balsamic and a touch of cayenne for a sweet, tangy and spicy side to roasting them with olive oil and finishing them off with grated garlic for an intense garlic flavor, they're not only the most versatile side dish, they're one of the easiest veggies to make. Oh, and they're just plain tasty.
While I love my go-to green bean cooking methods, I'm always looking for new ways to make my favorite veg. A recent trip to a Seattle foodie destination, Flint Creek Cattle Co. inspired me to try experimenting with gremolata to add a new level of flavor and complexity to your standard roasted veggies. Gremolata, since you might wonder, is a fresh, rustic, chopped herb condiment typically made with garlic, parsley and lemon zest. My version adds rich, crunchy hazelnuts for a simple yet decadent topping that'll give your green beans new life. Fresh, zesty and vibrant, they're a full departure from any canned variety.
If you're like me and like eating and cooking green beans as often as you can, this green bean recipe has to make it into your green bean rotation on the immediate. I guarantee you'll not only enjoy cooking them and feeling super chef-y while doing it, but your taste buds will thank you for the new life you've given them.
Green Beans with Hazelnut Gremolata
- 2 cups green beans, trimmed
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about half a lemon) and juice from half lemon
- 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, chopped
Boil water in a small saucepan. Add green beans and blanch for about 5 minutes. Drain green beans and run cold water over them immediately to maintain their color. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until green beans are slightly crispy and charred, yet still green and al dente. Remove from heat and serve warm with gremolata on top.