A naturally sweet and crunchy vegetable, green beans don’t need much to taste delicious at the height of their season. But cheese, butter, sage and walnuts never hurt either. If I want to play up green bean’s sweetness, I think savory, buttery and creamy flavors. A rich and buttery Blue Cheese, especially a creamy one that tastes a little bacony, contrasts with the bean’s fresh, snappy taste. Sage makes everything a little earthier, and walnuts finish it all off with a toasty crunch.

When cooking the green beans, blanch like a restaurant cook does. Drop the beans in boiling, salted water (salty like the sea) and cook until they’re still al dente but their starches have begun to break down so the vegetable is no longer mealy or stiff, about five to seven minutes. Once cooked, strain, then quickly drop the beans in a bowl full of ice water – called an ice bath. The cold bath will stop the beans from cooking and preserve their bright green color. This cooking method works great for nearly any vegetable. Just be sure to taste each vegetable when you think they’re close to being done so you don’t overcook.

Green Beans with Blue Cheese
By Kirstin
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 ½ tablespoons salted butter
1 medium sized shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
4 ounces toasted walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add green beans. Cook until al dente, about five to seven minutes, strain, then chill in an ice bath. Remove once the beans are cool and set aside.

Warm the butter over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan. Add the shallots and cook for two minutes. Add the sage and walnuts, cook for two additional minutes, then add the green beans and cook until warmed. Salt and pepper to taste. Once warmed, divide the green beans among six plates and top with the cheese – about an ounce per plate. Serve.

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