comscore Freshness counts when cooking green beans | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Freshness counts when cooking green beans


    Green beans with tarragon dressing in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman.

There are green beans, and then there are green beans. After many years of cooking this vegetable, I’m here to say, freshness really counts.

Luckily for us, we are in green bean season. Look for beans that are bright green, firm and perky. And because it’s the season, green beans are likely to be cheap. Bonus.

Green beans can be sauteed, roasted or steamed. In the summer heat, I love to give them a quick boil or steam, then drain and transfer them to a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. That keeps them at a satisfying crisp-but-tender texture. It also locks in that vivid emerald color, and makes green beans ideal for salads like this one.

This herb dressing is bright and bracing, with a lovely anise- like flavor from the tarragon. Letting the shallots sit in the vinegar with tarragon for a few minutes before adding the remaining dressing ingredients allows the shallots to pickle ever so slightly, giving this very simple dish an extra layer of flavor.

But you can also take this concept and play with it all through the late summer/early fall green-bean months. Pick a favorite dressing and toss it with the blanched and cooled green beans. If you’re feeling hurried or just want to keep things simple, some fresh lemon juice, a generous splash of good olive oil and a sprinkling of slightly coarse salt will give you a side dish to be proud of.

And next time you are putting together an antipasti platter or some kind of nibble-y spread, remember these beans, which will add fresh flavor and color to the collection.


By Katie Workman

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves or 1 teaspoon minced dried leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, tarragon and shallots. Set aside.

Plunge beans into boiling water and cook about 4 minutes, until just barely tender. Drain and drop them immediately into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Let cool a few minutes, then drain well.

Add olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to the shallot mixture and stir to combine.

Turn drained and cooled beans into a serving dish, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat beans. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 166 calories, 14 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 277 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up