Thanks to succession plantings, we keep getting a stead supply of really nice green beans. Larry plants a new row about every 2 weeks, until the early part of August. Our favorites are a variety called “Jade”, which is pretty widely available in various seed catalogs. “Jade” is a really nice producer, and the beans are long, straight, and stay tender, even if they get a bit on the big side before you get them picked. Green beans will keep producing for at least a couple, weeks, so long as you keep them picked. If they do get ahead of you, you can leave the oversized beans on the vines, and let them dry right out – even plain old green beans will eventually make a dried white bean that you can use for soups or baked beans. Because we have them for such a long season, I’m always looking for new ways to use them, and this has been one of our new favorites this summer.
While this didn’t used to be the case, white miso isn’t that difficult to find anymore. Usually refrigerated, it is carried in Asian markets, health food stores, and even some supermarkets. Made from soybeans, miso gives food a nice savory, salty bite. There is a hint of nuttiness in it as well. Miso is a great addition to broths that are destined for soups, and I also use it to make a vinaigrette I will share sometime soon.As soon as they hit the kitchen all green beans get the same treatment. I blanch them for a few minutes which helps them stay fresh in the fridge longer, and keeps them a nice bright green. This also ensures they are ready to use at a moment’s notice, which cuts down on prep at dinner time.
Get a large pot of lightly salted water going, on a high flame. Trim the stem ends from the beans, and give them a good wash. Put a couple of trays of ice cubes in a large bowl, and set aside. When the water comes up to a boil, add the whole beans, and bring the water back up to a boil. We like our beans still on the crisp side, but not too raw tasting, so I give them about 4 minutes, once the water simmering again. Smaller beans will be ready in as little as two minutes, so keep an eye on them. After 4 minutes, I dump them in a strainer in the sink, and then immediately plunk them into the bowl of ice. I then set the bowl in the sink and fill it up with cold water, swishing the beans around to cool them quickly. At this point, you can put the drained, cooled beans in the fridge, to use in recipes, or just to reheat for meals.
- Miso Sauce
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy or tamari sauce
- ½ teaspoon siracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Juice of ½ lime
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet red pepper
- The Beans
- About 1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed and blanched
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil, or olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- First, make the sauce. Combine the miso, vinegar, soy sauce, siracha sauce, honey and lime juice, in a small bowl. Whisk together until completely blended. The miso might seem at first, as though it will not mix in, but just give a minute or so, and it will become smooth. Add the red pepper, and mix well. Set aside.
- Make sure the blanched beans are dried off pretty well – I use a kitchen towel for this. Heat a large skillet over a high flame, and add the oils and minced garlic. Stir for a few seconds, and then add the cooled and dried beans. Using tongs, toss the beans in the oil mixture for 2 or 3 minutes, until hot through. Add the sauce, and mix until it is nicely distributed. Serve immediately.
If you prefer, you can cut the beans up after blanching them. They are certainly easier for kids to eat this way. By the third time I tested this recipe, we we looking for a little more variety, so I used the cut up ones to mix with some sauteed chicken chunks, and served them over soba noodles. Very tasty!
Any way you cut them, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!