I don't usually think much about green beans until the gorgeous yellow wax beans appear in my local farmers market. Although the yellow and green specimens are in separate bins, I love buying some of each and steaming them together for a simple vegetable side dish or a refreshingly crunchy summer salad.
When I was a kid, we called green beans string beans, but as far as I can tell, the strings have been hybridized out of the ones I encounter. Next time I'm at the market, I'm planning to ask the farmer, "Whatever happened to those strings?" I'm sure the answer is available on the internet, but I'd rather find out the old-fashioned way.
Green Beans with Smoked Paprika and AlmondsServes 4
Here are green beans with a Spanish accent. I am very happy that smoked paprika is now readily available; no kitchen should be without this mildly hot, flavor-packed spice. You can serve this side dish hot or at room temperature.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until limp, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the paprika and cook another 30 seconds.
Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the beans and sprinkle them with salt. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the beans are tender but still sprightly green, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.
Set the beans in a bowl and toss in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the rosemary, and the almonds. Add more salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe copyright, Lorna Sass, 2008