Food & Drink

Green Beans with Walnuts & Tarragon

Green Beans

Green Beans from Earthbound Cook by Myra Goodman

“This dish is superb when it’s made with young, tender green beans. To keep the beans green, they’re first blanched to set their vibrant color and to parboil them. An infusion of shallots and walnut oil forms the basis of a quick and flavorful sauce in which the beans are gently sautéed. Don’t be tempted to cook this dish over high heat—the delicate flavor and aroma of the walnut oil will be lost. Tarragon partners beautifully with green beans, and the sprinkling of chopped walnuts amplifies the flavor of the oil as well as adding a bit of crunch to the dish.”

Green Beans with Walnuts & Tarragon

Serves 4

  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil (see Nut Oils below)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped toasted walnuts (see Toasting Nuts and Seeds below), for garnish

1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, and set it aside.

2. Bring a large covered pot of water to a boil over high heat, and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, and immediately plunge the beans into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When the beans are cool, drain them again and set them aside.

3. Heat the walnut oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil is warm, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the green beans to the skillet, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tarragon, and season the beans with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer the beans to a platter and sprinkle the chopped walnuts over them. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nut Oils

Nut oils can turn an ordinary dressing into something extraordinary. Today, most major supermarkets and specialty gourmet shops stock oils made from walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios. They are not inexpensive, but they do add a depth of flavor and fragrance to salads that can’t be beat. Look for toasted or roasted nut oils, and those that have been cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. This indicates that the oil has been extracted through pressure, rather than with heat or solvents.

Nut oils have a short shelf life and can become rancid if not stored properly. After opening one, always refrigerate the oil. Stored in the refrigerator, nut oils will keep for up to 6 months.

Toasting Nuts and Seeds

Toasting brings out the wonderful flavor and aroma of nuts and seeds and makes them crisp and crunchy. This step takes only a few minutes, but you must watch the nuts and seeds carefully, as they can burn very easily. To reduce the risk of this happening, toast nuts whole or in large pieces.

IN THE OVEN: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts or seeds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for 5 minutes; then stir. Continue baking until the nuts or seeds are warm to the touch, lightly colored, and fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes longer.

IN THE MICROWAVE: Spread the nuts or seeds in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking and stirring every 30 to 60 seconds, until the nuts or seeds are warm to the touch, lightly colored, and fragrant. The cooking time will depend on the variety of nut, the amount you are toasting, and the wattage of your microwave oven.

ON THE STOVETOP: Place the nuts or seeds in a single layer in a heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Slowly toast, stirring occasionally, until the nuts or seeds are warm to the touch, lightly colored, and fragrant, 3 to 10 minutes.
Earthbound Cook
From the cofounder of Earthbound Farm, it’s the cookbook consistently rated five stars and praised as “heavenly,” an “everyday go-to cookbook.” With 250 recipes like Leek and Feta Risotto Cakes, Truffled Kale Casserole and Baked Mediterranean Shrimp, it makes mindful cooking a treat.

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