I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor packed into this dish, all dependent on a few strong elements: spicy arugula, tart lemon zest, and caramelized garlic. The three boost an otherwise mild and humble string bean. Though I had a perfectly flaky, delicious salmon steak on my plate, all I wanted to gobble up were these beans.
Texture is an important part, so be sure to cook the beans all the way until they're tender and have lost their backbone. I read somewhere that cooking beans "al dente" does them a disservice. It's far better to cook beans the traditional way until tender; they're rather unpleasant raw, in this dish at least, since it allows the garlic slices to provide texture. Otherwise, the preparation is dead simple, and if you've pre-boiled the beans, it can come together in the time it takes the salmon steak to rest.
About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.
- Yield:6 as a side
- 1 1/2 pounds green or yellow beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 oz baby arugula, or leaves from 1 pound arugula, chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook beans, uncovered, until tender. Drain in a colander.