How many of your Thanksgiving tables feature the quintessential green bean casserole? That used to be one of my favorite side dishes every year. In fact, my family liked it so well, we often had multiple vegetable variations: green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, and even mixed veggie casserole. Yes – all three on one Thanksgiving table.
Today, the standard ingredients for that dish – canned beans, canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onions – are not ones that grace my pantry shelves, much less my lips if I can help it. Nonetheless, green beans remain one of my favorite vegetables. And fresh, crisp and bright green they can be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.
For this recipe I quickly blanched 3 pounds of fresh green beans and then combined the beans with a garlic butter sauce and lemon. If you’ve never blanched vegetable before, there’s nothing to it. The blanching process is quite simple. You simply plunge the beans into boiling water, cook for about 2-3 minutes, and then immediately transfer the hot beans to a bowl of ice water, which can be prepared while the beans cook. The ice bath immediately halts the cooking process, which keeps the beans bright and crispy. You can then move on immediately to the next stop, or blanche the beans ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just remove the beans from the fridge about 30 minutes before using.
In a large skillet, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then melted 4 tablespoons of Kerrygold butter. Once the butter was melted, I added three minced garlic cloves and cooked for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. You’ll want to keep an eye on your skillet at this point, because garlic quickly burns. And you don’t want burnt garlic in your sauce. Once the garlic is lightly browned, add the green beans and cook until beans are coated with butter sauce and heated through. Then sprinkle with lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.
This side dish is delicious served warm or room temperature. I promise you won’t even miss the creamy condensed soup.
I also love leftovers tossed with some fresh ricotta cheese.