The following recipe is from the November 18 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!
Green beans always find their way to the holiday table. Unfortunately, sometimes they can be more of an afterthought than something to get excited over. I'm sure you are familiar with the usual suspects: the green bean casserole made with canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onions, or the defrosted beans that are more gray than green, gussied up with some slivered almonds.
This green bean neglect might have something to do with the fact that November is not exactly the height of bean season, and the specimens in the market might not look or taste quite up to par. Nonetheless, green beans have a place on the Thanksgiving table, so why not give them a chance to taste like something that you want to eat rather than something that you should eat?
This recipe for Skillet Green Beans with Orange from Simple Fresh Southern by Matt and Ted Lee is a great was to deal with not so great green beans. The beans are cooked in cast-iron at high heat, "pan-charred", according to the Lee brothers, which renders them crunchy, toasty, and a little smoky. Orange segments and a little bit of vinegar are added for sweet and sour notes. No more gloopy casseroles or gray beans, okay?
- 1 large navel orange
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Finely grate the zest of the orange, and reserve it. Segment the orange, and keep the segments and juice in a bowl.
In a large cast iron skillet or saute pan, heat the canola oil over high heat, swirling it around the pan so it coats the bottom thinly and evenly. When the oil begins to smoke, add the beans (in batches if necessary—don't crowd the pan) and scatter 1/2 teaspoon of the salt over them. Cook, stirring only every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the beans are half blistered and blackened, about 8 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving platter or bowl. Lift the orange segments out of their juice (reserve the juice), and scatter them over the beans. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the orange zest over the beans and oranges.
Add the vinegar, olive oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the bowl of orange juice, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the beans. Toss, and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and the remaining orange zest.