"It's easier being green than gray!" snaps my dream bean, putting its tapered tail down once and for all.
Living in the South--where green beans are synonymous with salted pork and cooking them until they look like the Swamp Thing--I am often alone in my camp.
Turns out I am the weird one!
The pods of green beans contain lignin--a substance found in wood, hemp, and linen--that only breaks down when fully cooked.
Well, my digestive tract is never any worse for wear after munching my way through a mess of squeaky, barely-steamed green beans.
I guess I could be part termite.
Even with so many ways to eat still-breathing green beans (topped with crispy shallots and toasted almonds; dressed up with lemon and Parmigiano; stir-fried with garlic and ginger and soy sauce; chilled and tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette), I prefer a no-frills preparation, eating them with my fingers like french fries.
Serve them alongside a BLT (and perhaps a bottle of this) and the Southerners get to keep their pork--and the beans, their pride.
Perfectly steamed green beans
- 1 pound green beans, stems snapped
- 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
Add two to three inches of water plus a five-fingered pinch of salt and sugar to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once boiling, put your beans in and cover the pot. If you have a steaming basket, by all means, stop wearing it like a hat and use it.
Depending on the might of your stove and the size of your beans, they should be bright green and tender (but still plenty snappy) after 3 to 5 minutes.
If you don't plan on eating them straightaway, pluck them from their steam bath and plunge them into an ice water bath, swirling the arctic water around to sufficiently shock the warmth out of them.
Otherwise, just drain off the excess water, then add your butter or olive oil and a flurry of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and squeak away.