by Karin Calloway
Green beans are an ever-present side dish on the holiday table, even though their peak season winds down in October. This can create problems for the home chef who doesn’t have access to specialty produce vendors, as the out-of-season supermarket green beans can be tough and flavorless.
My mother-in-law serves an old fashioned recipe for green beans during the holidays that everyone enjoys, which I’ve updated. Blanched green beans get a flavorful sauté before serving. Shallots, garlic and oregano give the beans a wonderful aroma, and then white balsamic vinegar is added to form a hot vinaigrette. The beans are heated in the vinaigrette to infuse them with flavor, and then are sprinkled with toasted pine nuts before serving. Leftover beans are tasty served as a chilled salad, and asparagus, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all delicious prepared in this method.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. When boiling, add the green beans and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside until ready to serve.
Before serving, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté 1 minute. Stir in the white balsamic vinegar and green beans and cook, stirring, until the beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper and pour out onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
*Toast pine nuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes.
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