We’re celebrating the arrival of summer with a bumper crop of slender, tender green beans. Picked young, they are best simply prepared to highlight their sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Blanching brings out their vibrant green color, then toss to coat with this quick, light, Thai-inspired sauce and you have an impressive, sassy side that has the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and umami to accompany fish, grilled meats, or with brown rice for a delicious vegetarian dish. Fresh green beans are in the markets, so I’m declaring Green Bean Week with this being the first of three quick, simple + seasonal green bean dishes from She’s Cookin’s kitchen.
After spending the better part of the past two weeks at the hospital, our little family was grateful and relieved to be together – the Young Baker home from college for the summer and Don on the mend; able to spend a quiet weekend at home celebrating Father’s Day with our fur babies who were feeling neglected with all the comings and goings.
Months of dining hall food for the Young Baker, and what the hospital considers a low-sodium, heart healthy options for Don, meant my home-cooked meals were welcomed with almost giddy enthusiasm by both – which is what fuels my desire to keep on cookin’ 🙂 Besides reigning over the kitchen (until tomorrow when I leave to visit my mom), I’m trying to catch up on my blog reading and rev up the creative juices; as my fellow bloggers know, life can sometimes get in the way of blogging.
Thai-Inspired Green Beans with Coconut Oil
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 roasted red bell pepper, skin removed
For the sauce:
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil*
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
red chili pepper flakes
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
1. Half the red pepper lengthwise and roast at 450 degrees in the oven or toaster oven until the skin is blackened. Remove and place in a bag or wrap in aluminum foil. Allow to cool and then peel off the skin.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Transfer green beans to water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove beans using a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
3. Melt the solid coconut oil in a small saucepan over med heat or in the microwave. Whisk in the fish sauce and tamarind paste. Using the same pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat, sprinkle in some red chili pepper flakes, add the beans, red pepper and almonds, pour in the coconut oil sauce, using tongs to toss to coat the beans and mix all ingredients together .
*Note: Once considered a villain because of saturated fat, coconut oil contains no trans fats and the type of saturated fat it contains is in the form of lauric acid, now the darling of the health food world, read more about it in this N.Y. Times article.
You might also like: Green Beans with Blue Cheese and Walnuts and later this week: Moroccan Chicken with Green Beans!
Welcome the summer solstice and make it a fabulous week!