Monday, November 21, 2016

So-Easy Sides for a Thanksgiving Marathon: Day 3
What’s cooking? Lemony Green Beans with Frizzled Leeks

I was discussing my own Thanksgiving menu with a friend who’ll be joining us that day, and she said that while everyone enjoys having lots of choices, mostly she thinks they like simple, straightforward foods.

I tend to agree, although that thought doesn’t stop me when I find a dish that sounds really really good but is slightly offbeat. For instance, I’m still planning to make my mashed potatoes with kale-collards pesto.

But I’m going for the simple treatment on today’s green beans. And the sample batch I made
– for you, dear readers! – was so flavorful, I’ll also be serving them at my own table on Thursday.

What caught my eye was the word “frizzled.” It just sounded fun, and when a dish is fun to say, that’s a good start. The frizzled leeks followed through on that note, with a little bit of crunch and a toasty flavor that reminds me a bit of popcorn. Hmmm, maybe next year I should try popcorn on my green beans.

In any case, the frizzle process helps bring out the natural sweetness in the leeks. Combine that toasty sweetness with the lemony treatment on the beans, and you have a memorable combination, without a lot of work.

Kitchen Goddess note: My grandmother cooked all vegetables in a pressure cooker, so it was years into adulthood before I discovered how wonderful green beans could taste... if you didn’t cook them too much. So please, folks, do not steam your green beans more than 3 minutes. If you do, there’ll be no life left in them once they go through the second stage of cooking, and even the deliciousness of the frizzled leeks will not save them.

Lemony Green Beans with Frizzled Leeks

Adapted from Anna Stockwell at, September 2016.

Serves 6.

1 pound green beans (preferably the thin haricot verts), stem ends trimmed
1 cup canola oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only
1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (For the juice and the zest, one fat lemon should do the trick. Just be sure to zest before you juice.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some for salting the frizzled leeks
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish: lemon wedges

Prepare an ice water bath for the green beans. Using a basket steamer in a large, covered stockpot, steam the green beans – you may have to do this in two batches – for 3 minutes per batch. Working quickly, transfer the steamed beans to the ice water bath for 1-2 minutes. Drain the beans and lay them out on paper towels to dry.

Slice the leeks crossways (white and light green parts only!), ⅛-inch thick, and gently separate the slices into circles.

Set a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the leek circles and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Kitchen Goddess note: The KG’s leeks got a bit extra frizzled because she left them in the oil for the full 5 minutes. They still tasted great. But you may want yours to be a little more golden. Just watch them carefully, starting at the 4-minute mark.] When your leeks have reached a color you like, transfer them to paper towels on a plate, and season them with salt.

Turn the heat on the oil down to medium and stir in the lemon zest, the green beans, the teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Using a large spoon or a spatula, toss the beans in the oil for about 5 minutes, to warm them through.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon juice, continuing to toss the green beans. Move the beans to a serving platter reserving about ¼ cup of the lemon/oil mixture to pour over the beans. Sprinkle the frizzled leeks on top and serve with lemon wedges.

The beans can be steamed a day ahead of serving, then dried and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

No comments:

Post a Comment