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Food & Drink

Roasting or sauteing brings out sweetness of green beans

| Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, 7:36 p.m.
Roasted Green Beans With Sesame Seed Dressing
Jody Horton
Roasted Green Beans With Sesame Seed Dressing

Green beans are that all-dependable vegetable that will match most any main dish. I think of it as my fallback green vegetable when I am in a hurry and want an easy side that satisfies. For years, my go-to cooking technique for green beans was steaming them, adding some butter or oil, salt and pepper, toss and serve. I also would simmer them in boiling salted water until al dente and then drain and transfer them to a serving bowl with a bit of butter and seasoning just before serving.

Through the years, I have tried other methods and have discovered that roasting or blanching and then sauteing bring out the inherent sweetness in the glorious green bean. Green beans are available year-round and can be found in different sizes at your market. I tend to choose the smaller ones because they cook quickly, are tender and can be a bit sweeter than the larger ones.

A fun fact: green beans used to be called string beans because they had a string that needed to be removed before cooking. Modern green beans have no strings, so that's one less chore in the kitchen.

To trim green beans, wash them in cold water and break off both ends of the bean. I like to leave them whole, but you can cut them in pieces if you prefer. Roasting the beans in a hot oven and seasoning with a tahini and sesame seed dressing is Chef Tanya Holland's answer to simple green bean preparation. In her cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen,” she showcases southern-style dishes from an Oakland, Calif., point of view.

Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at seriouslysimple.com.

Roasted Green Beans With Sesame Seed Dressing

3 garlic cloves, smashed

12 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450 degrees and set a rack to the top position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, oil, vinegar, tahini, sesame seeds and red pepper. Add the green beans and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and black pepper.

Spread the beans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

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