Long relegated to the side of the plate as an obligatory inclusion of greenery, the humble green bean deserves a place as the star of the show (or, at the very least, a little bit of special treatment). Here are two recipes to up the ante and jazz up the green beans for your next meal.
Green bean salad with tahini, preserved lemon and pine nuts
400g ﬁne green beans
2 preserved lemons
1 fat garlic clove, minced
Generous squeeze of lemon juice
1 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp warm water
Handful of pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the green beans in a saucepan of boiling water for about 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions – the timing will vary depending on their variety and thickness. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool, then drain well and dry on kitchen paper.
Cut the preserved lemons in half and thinly slice them into half-moons. Set aside.
Put the garlic into a small bowl with the lemon juice. Add the tahini and then mix in the warm water to loosen the mixture – don’t use cold water, or the mixture will seize.
Place the green beans in a mixing bowl and pour the dressing over. Add the preserved lemon slices and season with a generous amount of pepper, then transfer to a plate and scatter with the pine nuts before serving.
Spicy green bean stir-fry
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Vegetable oil, for frying
300g green beans, trimmed
5cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
Add enough oil to come one-third of the way up the side of a wok and set over high heat. When the surface of the oil is very hot and shimmering, carefully add a handful of beans and fry for 2–3 minutes until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans to a plate. Allow the oil to reheat and repeat the process until all the beans have been cooked.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok. Heat over high heat, swirling the wok around to coat in the oil. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and stir-fry for 20 seconds to flavour the oil but not allowing them to burn.
Add all the beans to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the rice wine and soy sauce to the wok, pouring them in around the hot edges. Stir-fry for 1 minute until well combined, then transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot.
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