Saturday, July 30, 2011

Basil Butter String Beans

The first dish I remember cooking is a string bean side dish for our grammar school pre-Thanksgiving celebration.  Students were split up into groups and sent to various nearby homes to prepare a contribution for our grade wide feast.  

That recipe became known at our Thanksgiving table as "Lauren's green beans."  The fact that I contributed a dish at all likely made those string beans "mine" at the tender age of eight or nine.  After a month of blogging and reflecting on food, it's the evocation of memories such as this one that I am loving most about this space.  

My CSA delivery included green, yellow and purple string beans, a gorgeous medley of color in the pan.  The preparation below includes minimal ingredients.  We enjoyed ours along side local grass fed rib-eyed steak and yummy garlic bread.

To my surprise, the purple beans turned green while cooking.  Anyone know why this happens?   

Basil Butter String Beans
  • 2- 3 cups fresh string beans of any color, ends trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 7-8 large basil leaves
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling them into a pinwheel and thinly slicing into long strips. A photo demonstration on how to chiffonade herbs is located here
  • Add 1/2 inch of water to a large saute pan and bring to boil.
  • Add the string beans to the pan, quickly steaming for 5-8 minutes depending on preference.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter over low heat.  Once liquefied, add basil and mix well.  Let the basil cook in the butter until the string beans are steamed.
  • Drain the beans, toss in the basil butter and a finish with a few cracks of black pepper. 
About String Beans
Originally domesticated in Mesoamerica and part of the "three sisters" of Native American agriculture, string beans or common beans are a great source of folic acid.  Typically green, there are also yellow and purple varieties as seen in this photo. 

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