"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Green Bean Cooking Tricks and Wisdom

I learned a trick and some wisdom from this recipe I will pass on to you. And not difficult either. It's green bean time. I got a big garden-fresh bag of them from my neighbor who has the best gardening spot for beans.

Green Beans with Olive Oil, Basil and Parmesan (serves 4)

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup washed, patted-dry, and chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
bowl of ice water
2 tablespoons of Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
salt to taste
fresh-ground pepper to taste

1. Put the tablespoon of salt in 3 quarts of water. Heat the water to boiling.
2. While you wait, chop the red onion and put it into a bowl of water to soak (mellows the flavor; that's the trick).
3. When water is boiling, put the beans in it. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes depending on the beans. You want them bright green and slightly crisp ("al dente"). If you cook them longer than 7 minutes they will lose their bright color. (That's the wisdom.)
4. Meanwhile, drain the chopped onion well, put it in a large bowl with the olive oil and vinegar, and prepare a separate bowl of ice water.
5. When beans are done, turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer them into the ice water so they stop cooking. Then drain them well; perhaps pat them dry. Place in bowl with the red onion,oil, vinegar and chopped basil and grind in some black pepper and toss. Then add the grated cheese and toss a bit more. Salt to taste. Serve.

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