When I was young, my weary mother occasionally prepared green beans. They were canned green beans and they were cooked in the style of the day, which is to say that they were boiled until limp. Now, if you are a canned limp green bean fan, please don’t take offense. I cannot make some “truth” claim about what is a good green bean, but I can tell you what green beans are good TO me, and as you may have guessed canned limp green beans are not in this club. The only other green bean exposure I had with any regularity was at my dear grandmother’s house. Her addition to the container of limp green beans was a big piece of fatback. While I understand that might entice some folks, it didn’t create a veggie siren song for me. All this is to say that I am a late bloomer where the green bean is concerned.
Years later, I was convinced to try green beans with a promise of something truly different from what I’d experienced before, something that tasted like, well, something other than salt water. Al dente… tender crisp… a vegetable that is still cooked, but that resists the bite, offers a little crunch, demonstrates a need for teeth. And so began my love affair with green beans. I’ve since tried all the varieties I can find (I must confess that the yellow ones still don’t work for me), and have prepared them a variety of ways – and that’s they part you’re probably actually interested in. Continue reading