Skillet Green Beans with Orange

Skillet Green Beans

serves 4 • time: 10 minutes preparation, 10 minutes cooking

The slender, tender French haricots verts that have emerged in upscale food markets in recent years bear no resemblance to the leathery-skinned, stout green beans our parents grew when we were kids, the kind that seemed suited only to long simmering in a pot with a chunk of really good bacon. In this recipe, we “skillet-toast” those fat beans, which adds a charred, smoky dimension to them, transforming even the toughest beans—which, truth be told, is the kind we find most often in the precincts of the U.S. we inhabit—into something as addictively delicious as salted popcorn.

Serve these beans with Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin (page 155) and Skirt Steak with Parsley Sauce (page 171), and you have a well-rounded, knockout menu that takes only an hour to prepare.

1 large navel orange

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Finely grate the zest of the orange, and reserve it. Segment the orange (see Segmenting Citrus, page 130), and keep the sections and juice in a bowl.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet or saute pan, heat the canola oil over high heat, swirling it around the pan so it coats the bottom thinly and evenly. When the oil begins to smoke, add the beans (in batches, if necessary—don’t crowd the pan) and scatter 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt over them. Cook, stirring only every 11⁄2 to 2 minutes, until the beans are half blistered and blackened, about 8 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving platter or bowl. Lift the orange segments out of their juice (reserve the juice), and scatter them over the beans. Sprinkle 1⁄4 teaspoon of the orange zest over the beans and oranges.
  3. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt to the bowl of orange juice, and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the dressing over the beans. Toss, and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and the remaining orange zest.

Garnish it rich· · ·With pieces of Buttermilk Fresh Cheese (page 93) crumbled over the beans just before serving.