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Green Beans with Caramelized Pecans

Serves: Makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2½ pounds green beans, trimmed
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) pecan pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup minced shallot, (about 2 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


Procedures:

Green beans have a certain suave, slender elegance that makes them a classic accompaniment to rosy-red roast beef. But too often, they get short shrift: a quick drizzle of butter, a squirt of lemon, and onto the table they go. We suggest you coddle them a little this year. Try tossing them in a hot skillet with shallots and pecans that get caramelized in buttery brown sugar and you’ll see just how special green beans can be. Try seasoning them with an alder-smoked salt for an extra layer of flavor.

Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook, uncovered, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, transfer beans to colander in ice water to stop cooking, then drain well and dry on towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet, toast pecans over a medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally until nuts are beginning to brown and smell toasty, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a dish a reserve. Add butter to skillet and cook over medium heat until foam subsides. Stir in sugar until almost dissolved. Add pecans, stirring to heat through, about 1 minute. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until oil begins to shimmer. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add reserved green beans and lemon zest and sauté, tossing them with tongs, until heated through, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the pecan mixture and toss to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve: Pile the beans into a warmed serving dish and serve hot.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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