The Adventures of Kitchen Girl

March 27, 2012

Parmesan Green Beans with Sweet and Spicy Garlic Vinaigrette

This recipe was born out of sheer craving one evening this past week. Out of the blue, while I was watching TV with the family, I started to daydream about the fresh green beans I'd just bought from the market. They had been planned for a dinner later in the week but I figure when your body craves something healthy... you go ahead and give it what it wants! The only problem was that plain steamed green beans just weren't going to do the trick. I wanted something with a little more pizzazz.

So, there I was, in the kitchen at 9:00 in the evening, rummaging through the pantry and cabinets to see what I could come up with. I wanted something tangy, a smidgen sweet, a bit spicy, and a little salty. At the same time, I didn't want the fresh flavor of the green beans to be lost. I think I found a perfect balance with this recipe. The next day I went back to the market and bought more green beans, double the amount this time, so I could make the beans for dinner and for my lunches this week. Yes, it truly is just *that* good.

Parmesan Green Beans with Sweet and Spicy Garlic Vinaigrette

2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

1: Steam washed and trimmed green beans until crisp tender, about 5-6 minutes.

2: While the beans are steaming combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic paste, red pepper flakes in a small bowl and combine well with a whisk. Taste and and add salt and pepper to taste, using the above measurements as a guide. Whisk again and set aside.

3: Once the beans are done steaming, transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss until well coated.

4: Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 8

Kitchen Notes:
* I found that I REALLY liked these warm, room temperature and cold straight from the fridge.

* For a hot dish: making the vinaigrette a day ahead, refrigerating it and then allowing it to come to room temperature when you're ready to use it makes a definate difference in flavor. The vinaigrette is best the next day, after the ingredients have a chance to marry.

* For a cold or room temperature dish: Steam the green beans, allow to cool, dress with the vinaigrette and place in a covered container and refrigerate the day before you plan to serve. On the day of service, toss and place on your serving platter. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese just before serving.

*Certainly, you can make these on the same day and they will still be amazing. Allowing the flavors to marry for a day (or even just a few hours) brings a depth and complexity of flavor to the dish.

* Balsamic vinegar in place of the white wine vinegar is also very good.