There are some ingredients that have been plagued with a notorious (and incorrect) reputation for being boring. Carrots are banished to the land of dips, celery doesn't have the sex appeal of kale, and until recently, cauliflower met upturned noses everywhere. But there is no greater victim than the humble green bean.
Many chefs and passionate home cooks alike have discovered the true power of this almighty vegetable, but it is still underestimated. Quite plain in it's appeal, you must admit, they aren't quite as attractive as the highly sought after snap peas, and they are commonly passed over at the farmer's markets for the emerald hued broccoli crowns.
Even, I, a current champion of green beans, once thought of them only as dog treats (Frankie is a very spoiled pup). Or the main ingredient of the dreadful green bean casserole. Maybe I am not the best example, as I come from a home where green beans in a can reigned supreme. My mother can knit incredibly intricate sweaters, and create homemade cards so beautiful, you would think she waved a magic wand-but cooking? Not her forte. Actually, if she is reading this, she wouldn't mind me telling you, she hates cooking.
My dad, loves it. But he never really found his niche (baking and soups) until I was already out of the house. So my memories of green beans were never fond. Soggy, a dark, dingy forest green, they almost mushed when you stabbed a fork through them. All my life, I was never a fan of green beans, but much like their reputation, they were lukewarm feelings. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them.
Until now. Now, my relationship with green beans can be categorized as more than a fan. I am a downright groupie.
I make eyes at them at the farmer's market, think about them in slow motion, basting them in a creamy butter as I stack pounds in my basket. A generous sprinkling of salt, some heat, so simple and delicious, I catch myself day dreaming about them.
Gone are the days overly salted, mushy, sad green beans.
Welcome to nirvana. Horseradish, garlic buttered green beans. Cast iron seared so they stay crunchy, and maintain their incredibly bright color.
These super simple green beans are doubled in the recipe because they are just so unbelievably good, I found myself making this multiple times a week. So, I figure to err on the side of caution, and go ahead and double it right away.
They really are that good.
For how simple they are, I can confidently say, they are one of my favorite dishes to date this year. I probably recipe tested them over ten times? Part of those tests were to make sure they were perfect, and the rest, well, I think I was addicted.
The steps are pretty simple (and outlined below), but there are two very important things to remember when making this recipe:
1. The salt & cracked black pepper is very crucial. Quick cooking science tip: salt is your friend. It completely changes the flavor of the dish, especially when cooking with fat as one of your main ingredients. You want to teeter that line of salt perfection. So make sure to sprinkle salt here, and sprinkle black pepper there, tasting a bean all along the cooking process. You can always adjust at the end in this recipe, so try to remain a little conservative until after the butter is added in.
2. Do not add the horseradish butter in until about 30 seconds until you take the beans off of the heat. The horseradish will start to burn if you cook the beans IN the butter. Don't do this. It will almost start to caramelize, in a bad way. Turning the mixture into a black acrid mess. The butter is a finishing touch, not the cooking vehicle.
My first step in changing the minds of those that were tricked like me into thinking green beans were useless. They have been betrayed for oh too long, and these horseradish green beans in all their blistered glory will surely be a welcome addition at any table. IF, you can stop yourself from eating all of them directly out of the pan.
Blistered Green Beans with Horseradish Butter
Author: Allie Brendel
Fresh, crispy green beans are transformed in this simple dish. Slightly blistered, but still crunchy, the subtle heat from the horseradish butter makes these a must make.
Makes: 6 servings (about a cup each)
- 2 pounds of fresh Green Beans
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish (jarred)
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (small amount for pan)
- Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
- Make your horseradish butter. Take the softened butter, horseradish, and garlic powder and mix together. Lightly season the butter with salt & pepper. About a pinch each.
- Wash the green beans thoroughly. Trim off the ends/stems, but keep them long instead of halving.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat (slightly right of direct middle), hot enough to for the pan to sizzle when you drop water in it, but not hot enough to burn them.
- To make the first batch, drip some olive oil in the pan just enough to slightly coat the pan. Toss in the first pound of beans. You want them to coat the pan, some can be stacked on top (you will be mixing them up).
- Toss the first batch together, lightly coating all beans with the olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper.
- Let the green beans sit on one side for a few minutes, letting them slightly blister. 2-3 minutes.
- After the 3 minutes, stir the beans around, making sure that the other green beans have a chance to blister. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Depending on the size of the green bean, check them after 6 minutes, if they are starting to lilt, just beginning to bend when you pick one up. Go ahead and add half of the horseradish butter.
- Toss the horseradish butter, mixing up quickly (not allowing the horseradish in the butter to burn.
- Coat all the green beans, and then remove the green beans from the pan and let them rest in a bowl.
- Taste one of the green beans, adjust the seasonings, do not be afraid of to add salt (it changes the flavors of the butter), and make sure to crank plenty of cracked black pepper into the beans if they need it still.
- Repeat with the second batch.
- Pair with roasted or grilled chicken, sweet potatoes, or eat on their own as a snack (I have). This would be great for the holidays as well.
*The salt & cracked black pepper is very crucial. Quick cooking science tip, salt is your friend, it completely changes the flavor, especially when cooking with fat as one of your main ingredients. You want to teeter that line of salt perfection. So make sure to sprinkle salt here, and sprinkle black pepper there, tasting a bean all along the cooking process. You can always adjust at the end in this recipe, so try to remain a little conservative until after the butter is added in.
**Do not add the horseradish butter in until about 30 seconds until you take the beans off of the heat. The horseradish will start to burn if you cook the beans IN the butter. Don't do this. It will almost start to caramelize, in a bad way. Turning the mixture into a black acrid mess. The butter is a finishing touch, not the cooking vehicle.