Sunday cooking adventures: Charred green beans


Regular readers of @80solution #Sundaycookingadventures have figured out that we eat a lot of green beans in our family. It wasn’t always that way.

When my husband was very ill, he had to take warfarin sodium tablets to thin his blood as it flowed through his heart pump (also called a left ventricular assist device, an LVAD or VAD). As a result, he couldn’t eat most green vegetables because they contained Vitamin K, which promotes clotting. Green beans don’t have much Vitamin K. Because he didn’t care for most root vegetables, we ate a lot of green beans.

My favorite way to eat vegetables is to roast them, but when this month’s Cooking Light magazine came in the mail, it had an interesting article about charring vegetables and I decided to try it.

Charring them means just that. You spray a hot skillet with vegetable spray and then put the green beans in and don’t touch them for a minute while they char. Then you cook them for five more minutes,  finish them off with a little flavoring (in this case, apple cider vinegar, fresh, chopped tarragon and a little butter and salt), and you’re done.

They were GREAT. Crispy and tender, they had a great charred flavor. And they took less than 15 minutes to make (if you don’t count trimming the green beans first).

This may turn out to be my new favorite way to cook green vegetables. I’ll be doing more experimenting with charring. In the meantime, give this recipe a try. Here is the original recipe — and it called for such a small amount of salt that I actually used it.

Charred green beans with tarragon

Cooking spray
8 ounces washed and trimmed fresh green beans
1 1/2 teaspoons butter (half a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat a medium, heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat for 2 minutes.
Coat pan with cooking spray. Immediately add green beans to pan, shaking them into a single layer; cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until beans are very lightly charred. Cook beans 5 more minutes or until crisp-tender and evenly charred, tossing occasionally.
Remove pan from heat. Let beans rest 1 minute. Add butter; toss until butter melts and coats beans. Add vinegar; toss. Turn on heat if necessary to evaporate most of liquid. Sprinkle beans with tarragon and salt; toss. Serve immediately.

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