food for thought

by michelle

green beans

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Here are two ways to prepare green beans.

This is a simple Spanish-style salad. First steam the beans for 6 minutes and then drain and rinse them briefly in cold water to stop them cooking any further. For the dressing combine 4 tablespoons of good olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped red onion, 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley and a small finely diced clove of garlic. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a little sugar. Gently toss the dressing through the beans and then cover and allow to chill for at least one hour or even overnight. When serving, optional extras could include almonds, pimiento or chopped hard-boiled eggs.

For this Szechuan-style stir-fry you will need some Asian supplies: dried shrimps, Szechuan preserved vegetable (available in tins at Asian stores and some supermarkets), red rice vinegar, Chinese cooking wine and sesame oil as well as oil, fresh ginger and sugar. Trim a good serving of young green beans then rinse and pat them dry. Soak ¼ cup of dried shrimp in ½ a cup of boiling water until softened, then drain and reserve the soaking liquid, chopping the shrimp finely. Finely dice a knob of ginger and ¼ a cup of rinsed Szechuan preserved vegetable. Set a wok over high heat with 2 – 3 Tablespoons of oil. When very hot, toss the beans in the oil, allowing them to brown and shrivel a little. While the beans are still quite firm, add the shrimp, preserved vegetable and ginger and stir for a minute before drizzling in a tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine, then the soaking liquid. Continue to stir until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are just tender. Glaze with sesame oil and serve hot.

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