Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes Pt.VII - String Bean Almondine - Easy

String beans, aka green beans, are another traditional Thanksgiving side dish.  Technically, "bean" should really be plural since there's more than one bean in this recipe.  But I like how the name rhymes so it's staying.  Hmmph!

This side-dish is very easy to make, especially if you start with frozen string beans.  You can use fresh string beans, but with the 28 other dishes you are making for Turkey Day, something's gotta give.  Tell you what ... how 'bout a compromise :  use frozen, but spring for whole string beans or baby beans.  Just don't use french-cut, where the beans are sliced down the middle lengthwise.  In fact, don't use frozen pre-cut in any direction.  Only because whole beans look fancier and will impress you family and guests. Especially that know-it-all relative, you know who I mean, who manages to find fault with something you did, and why did you do it that way anyway, because he/she always does it the other, correct way.  Every.  Single. Time he/she comes over you go through this.  But you have to invite anyway because, after all, family ...

Sorry, I digress ...

I wouldn't recommend making this dish any earlier than that morning.  You can reheat, but if you get distracted, the beans overcook and become gray and mushy.  Which is not a good thing.

I suggest toasting the almonds because the flavor is awesome.  But if you are at the moment using all the cook-top burners and the turkey is taking up every square inch in the oven, skip it.  Take the 5 minutes while the beans are cooking and have a nice cup of tea.

String Bean Almondine
serves 8-10

1-24 oz. bag of frozen whole string beans or baby string beans
2 tsp. water
2 Tbl. margarine
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a 2 quart microwave-safe casserole dish, place frozen string beans.  Sprinkle with water and dot with chunks of margarine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until beans are hot, but still crisp.  Let sit for one minute, then carefully uncover.  Add lemon juice and stir. 

While the beans are cooking, heat a small frying or saute pan over medium heat.  Add almonds and stir constantly for one minute, or until almonds start to brown.  Immediately remove pan from heat.

Top string beans with almonds and serve.

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