Which is worse? Green bean casseroles or steamed green beans with butter? The former usually is insipidly gooey and not even remotely retro enough to be ironically cool. The latter is, well, steamed green beans with butter. Hard to get excited about that.
Consider enlivening this beleaguered bean with Gourmet magazine's recipe for green beans with ginger butter. Though not dramatically different than the steam-and-eat versions, this recipe adds a vibrant note with lemon zest and matchsticks of fresh ginger.
Completely rethink this dish with a recipe for roasted green beans tossed with bacon, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and roasted red peppers from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine.
That too much for you? Try the middle ground with Bon Appetit magazine's roasted green beans and radicchio with garlic. This recipe keeps the roasting - which provides deeper flavors than steaming or boiling - but moderates the seasoning with a bit of garlic and vinegar.
GREEN BEANS WITH GINGER BUTTER
(Start to finish 25 minutes)
2 pounds haricots verts or other green beans, trimmed
3-inch-long piece fresh ginger
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Finely grated lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Set aside.
Bring an 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the beans, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 to 9 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander, then transfer to the ice water to cool and stop the cooking. Drain the beans again and pat dry.
Peel the ginger and cut into thin matchsticks.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, heat the butter until melted and the foam subsides. Add the ginger and cook, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes.
Add the beans and cook, stirring until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add zest and teaspoon salt, tossing to combine.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
(Recipe from the November 2006 issue of Gourmet magazine)
THANKSGIVING GREEN BEANS
(Start to finish 25 minutes)
1/4 pound bacon (about 5 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Couple of dashes hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard and hot sauce, stirring it into the bacon fat. Return the skillet to high heat, add the beans and cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the red peppers and half the bacon, tossing until warmed through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving plate and top with remaining bacon.
Makes 8 servings.
(Recipe from the November 2006 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine)
ROASTED GREEN BEANS AND RADICCHIO WITH GARLIC
(Start to finish 30 minutes)
3 pounds green beans, trimmed
12 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
2 medium heads radicchio, quartered, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Position two racks in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 450.
Divide the green beans and garlic between two heavy, large-rim baking sheets, spreading them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes.
Roast until the green beans begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Divide the radicchio and vinegar between the baking sheets and toss to combine. Continue roasting until the vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 12 servings.
(Recipe from the November 2006 issue of Bon Appetit magazine)