Why It Works
- Broiling the green beans creates a blistered effect similar to dry-frying in a wok, but with less effort.
- Romesco sauce, once loosed with fresh olive oil, becomes a hearty dressing for the beans.
Here's a simple, hearty vegetable side dish that you can toss together in minutes—as long as you have some romesco sauce and fresh green beans on hand. The recipe takes advantage of two things, one a technique, the other a powerful and versatile condiment.
The technique is Kenji's broiler method for "dry-frying" green beans. Real dry-frying is a two-stage wok technique that involves frying something first in a generous amount of oil, and then stir-frying a second time with seasonings. As Kenji points out in his article, that isn't always practical for the home cook. The broiler, he found, makes for an acceptable substitute, producing charred and blistered beans with a minimum amount of oil and effort required. After that, you can toss the beans with whatever flavorings you desire (check out Kenji's recipe for Sichuan dry-fried green beans for another example).
In this recipe, we dress the cooked beans with Spanish romesco sauce, a deeply flavorful condiment made from ground almonds, bread, tomato, garlic, dried peppers, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. It's earthy, fruity, rich, and slightly tart. Typically thick enough to act as a dip, the romesco here is thinned with enough olive oil to turn it into something like a hearty vinaigrette. In the end it should still be on the thick side, but loose enough to coat the beans.
A little minced parsley finishes the side dish off, adding a pop of fresh green flavor in every bite. Try it alongside roast chicken, beef, pork, or even a robust piece of fish like pan-seared salmon.
- 1 pound (450g) green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (70g) romesco sauce
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (about 1 1/2 ounces; 40g)
Adjust oven rack to as close as possible to broiler element and preheat broiler on high. In a large bowl, toss green beans with 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil and season lightly with salt. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil until beans are blistered and very lightly charred, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on strength of broiler. Return beans to bowl.
Toss beans with romesco sauce and parsley until well-coated, and drizzle with as much olive oil as needed to loosen the romesco so that it evenly coats the green beans like a thick dressing. Season with salt to taste, and serve, either warm or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The dressed beans can be refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container; to preserve the parsley's fresher flavor, leave it out until just before serving (it will still be fine if added at the beginning, just slightly softened as it sits in the romesco). Allow to come to room temperature or gently rewarm before serving.