Fresh green beans – or string beans, as many call them – make a colorful, delicious side to many main dishes. Some love them boiled or steamed, then sauteed with lots of garlic and seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, and the Moroccan additions of cumin and cayenne.
When selecting beans, choose brightly colored, unblemished ones. Younger, thinner beans are preferable, as are beans that are firm enough to easily snap in half. If not cooking the beans right away, refrigerate them in a plastic bag with a paper towel inserted to absorb excess moisture.
- 1 pound (about 1/2 kg) fresh green beans
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 to 4 small cloves garlic, pressed or very finely chopped
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1. Trim or snap off the ends from the green beans, removing any stringy fibers which may run the length of the bean. Not all beans will have this fiber. If the beans are excessively long, they may be cut or broken in half for easier eating.
2. Wash and drain the beans.
3. Cook the beans just until crisp-tender by boiling or steaming.
- To boil, place the bean in a pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately drain the beans and submerge in an ice water bath for minute or two, then drain again.
- To steam, bring a small amount of salted water to a boil in a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the green beans, cover, and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Melt the butter – or heat the olive oil – in a saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute just for a minute until fragrant; do not burn.
5. Add the green beans to the pan and season to taste with salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Toss gently and cook just until the beans are heated through.
6. If using parsley, gently stir it in and sprinkle over the top as a garnish. Serve immediately.