Green beans, wax beans, long beans, or Romano beans all work beautifully in this recipe. Beans, olive oil, garlic, salt, a splash of water, and bit of time is all it takes to make these lusciously tender and flavorful braised green beans. Snappy, lightly steamed green beans, these are not. A long cooking time renders them super tender and allows the flavors of the braising liquid to permeate the beans to deliciousness.
- 1 pound green beans or Romano beans
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup water
- Fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano (optional)
- Trim off and discard the ends of the beans. If using true string beans, pull off the strings along the sides of the beans, snapping off one end and pulling down and away. Rinse the beans in cold water.
- Lightly crush and peel the garlic. Cut large cloves in half or quarters, but leave in large pieces rather than chopping or mincing—the long cooking time will draw out the sweeter side of its flavor if the garlic is in bigger pieces (cutting releases its essential oils, intensifying its pungent flavor).
- In a large frying pan or saute pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it's warm. Add the garlic and cook, shaking the pan a bit, until it's fragrant and just turning golden, about 2 minutes.
- Add the beans, with any water from being rinsed clinging to them, and stir to mix with the oil and garlic. Sprinkle with the salt and add the water. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady gentle simmer.
- While the beans cook, finely chop any herbs you want to add.
- Remove the cover, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until any remaining water evaporates and the beans start to brown just a bit on the edges.
- Serve the beans hot, warm, or at room temperature, scattering the fresh herbs, if using, over the beans first.
While these beans have tons of flavor as-is, you can always gild the lily with the following:
- Add some spice with 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes at the end of the garlic cooking, before you add the beans, letting them sizzle for a few seconds.
- Drizzle with lemon olive oil or other flavorful oil before serving.
- Create a different flavor profile by adding 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to the pan right before adding the beans. Add only half the salt and then drizzle with soy sauce or tamari at the end.