Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fool Proof Greens

Summer Greens, Makes You Feel Fine!

The jury is in -- this year's 'it" color is green!

    Recalling our art-filled trip to the Amalfi coast where we enjoyed the Mediterranean diet -- lots of greens, lots of vegetables. 

This time of year, most of what I serve for dinner comes directly from the farmer's market. The popular movement and term du jour,  Farm to Table, is catching on for a whole host of reasons -- the produce is fresh, less energy is used transporting it, it supports local infrastructure, and it's honest eating. I believe there is a social responsibility to local, sustainable food -- the impact of food choices that we make today has a long standing impact on the planet for our future  -- and for our children's future.  I feel fortunate that I can find farm fresh, organic food almost all year round.  

We spent the 4th of July weekend at the beach, cooking at home mostly, and made some delicious meals.  But, according to guests that I had over just before heading off to the fireworks,  one very simple dish stood out among the rest -- Green Beans.   I briefly mentioned this dish in a prior post, but my guests requested that I give more detailed instructions because the kids (and adults alike) quickly polished it off,  so here it is...

What you will need:

At least 12 oz of Green Beans (or even better, the thinner version -- Haricot Verts)
3 medium sized shallots, diced
3 cloves of garlic, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Vietnamese fish sauce
(if you cannot find fish sauce, sauté 3-5 anchovies in some oil)

Remove the tips of the green beans

The ends of the beans tend to be tough and less enjoyable to eat, so take a minute and cut them off (preferably by hand). This is a great activity for children who wish to help in the kitchen.

Blanch the Beans!

I love sautéd vegetables,  especially kale and swiss chard.  But some vegetables take too long to cook in a sauté pan and become a mushy mess as a result.  To avoid sogginess,  quickly blanch (boil in hot water) the green beans for 2 minutes.  After blanching, remove the greens and immediately put them into cold ice water, to stop them from cooking.  Set aside. 

Sauté the garlic and shallots in a medium sized skillet or cast iron grill pan until soft, for about 2 minutes. 

Add in the chilled green beans and sauté for another minute. Add in the Vietnamese Fish sauce, perhaps a tablespoon of butter (if desired) and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for one more minute and serve either hot or at room temperature. 

Everyone is going to love it!!!

I owe special credit for this dish to my friend, Tati, who was taught this recipe from her mother, Tram Nguyen, one of the first Vietnamese chefs in Brooklyn (in the 1970s and 80s).  Some may remember her restaurant in Cobble Hill  -- Delices de Saigon

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