Not-Your-Grandmother's Sauteed Green Beans with Slivered Almonds
BSD is a chef acronym you should know. It stands for blanch, shock and drain, and it applies to many vegetables that need precooking at restaurants. Blanching helps take the raw bite out of vegetables but keeps their texture. Once blanched, shocking in ice water stops the cooking process. Then draining removes any excess moisture and gets them ready for seasoning or sauce. This is a great technique for parcooking and holding all vegetables. It cooks the vegetable about 90 percent. Then all you need to do is finish cooking and season as you wish!
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. For the ice bath, use a lot of ice, add 1 teaspoon or so of kosher salt (which will make it a bit colder) and put a colander inside the bowl so that the ice stays separate from the beans and it's easy to drain the beans as soon as they are well chilled.
Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Ladle out 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the water, then transfer the green beans to the ice bath using a wire mesh spider or tongs. Allow to chill completely, then lift the colander out of the ice bath, and dry the green beans thoroughly with kitchen towels or paper towels. This can be done ahead of time.
In a medium skillet, heat the butter and almonds over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the almonds are deeply browned and nutty, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes longer. Add the lemon juice, along with 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of the cooking water. Increase the heat to high and stir and shake the pan rapidly to emulsify, about 30 seconds. The sauce should have a glossy sheen and not appear watery or greasy. If it's still watery, continue to simmer and shake. If it looks greasy, add another 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water. When the sauce is ready, remove from the heat.
Add the green beans to the pan with the sauce and toss to coat and combine. Return to medium heat and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with Maldon salt and pepper. Garnish with the lemon zest and serve immediately.
We like Blue Lake green beans because they are larger than the French haricots verts. They hold their texture and do well after the BSD. Haricots verts tend to get soggy because they are so thin and delicate.
Reprinted with permission from "101 Epic Dishes" by Jet Tila and Ali Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.