Monday, November 2, 2009

Green Beans Braised in Tarragon and Butter

[Recorded November 2, 2009; developed over a long time]
1/2 lb  haricot vert, if available, or nice young green beans
kosher salt
2 t unsalted butter
1/2 t dry tarragon, rubbed fine
Pinch off the stem end of each bean, but keep them whole if possible. [Hint: Hold a bunch of beans together in one hand, and pinch the stems off with the other.] 

Bring a half-inch of lightly-salted water to a boil in a saute pan and drop the beans. Cover, and boil slowly until almost tender, about 6 to 8 minutes (see RANT).

Drain into a colander and cover to keep warm. Dry the pan, and return it to medium-high heat. When sizzling hot, add the butter and coat the pan with it. After about a minute, a nutty buttery aroma will become apparent. Pure deliciousness. 

Drop the beans, coat with the butter, and salt. Handle with tongs. Add the tarragon, saute a few minutes until sizzling. Plate. Deglaze pan with a tablespoon of lemon juice, white wine, water or stock. When fluid is mostly gone, pour the butter-tarragon sauce over the beans, and serve. Dyno-mite.

Serves 2 to 3 as a side, or 1 bean freak

Don’t make the widespread culinary mistake of grossly undercooking vegetables. Because the nutrients within the plant’s cells can’t escape the cell wall (remember, people can’t digest cellulose), some of the potential food value (and flavor) will be unavailable. Reducing raw foods to a liquified puree (yuck) in a “juicer” will free the nutrients, as Jack LaLanne proves nightly on his informercials, but except for carrots, it's not a major home appliance. After all, how much liquified orange peel are you prepared to drink?

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