Authors: A Veggie Venture
How to cook fresh or frozen green beans quickly right in a skillet. A little garlic, a pinch of sugar and plenty of salt and pepper make this a recipe to make again and again. Low carb. Just Weight Watchers 1 point.
~more recently updated recipes~
2007 ORIGINAL POST The inspiring recipe calls these 'stir-fried green beans a la Tang'. But mention 'stir fry' and my eyes glaze over over as I imagine lugging the twelve-ton cast iron wok from the basement – something that's just not happening on a weeknight, if ever. But this recipe works in an everyday skillet, no wok required. In fact, it calls for a skillet! Perfect! The recipe comes from this month's issue of Saveur. It's one of my favorite food magazines; every issue always includes one or two recipes that I want to make right away.
The beans cook up in just minutes, with minimal attention. They are very good, even with slightly woody supermarket beans. Next time I'll give frozen green beans (which are great) a shot using this same technique.
2010 UPDATE As I revisit earlier recipes here on A Veggie Venture, it surprises me how often I've incorporated a technique or recipe into my regular routine, without really remembering its origin. This is one of those recipes. So often, I cook a few green beans in a skillet on the stove. Mostly the green beans are fresh, other times they are frozen green beans. But always, now, I cook them at high heat with garlic and just a smidgen of sugar – it's almost like pan-roasting the beans, without heating up the oven.
2012 UPDATE This is my favorite way to cook green beans ahead of time, some times a big batch early in the week to use in small batches later in the week. I cook the beans almost all the way, slightly undercooking them. I also leave out the last bit of salt and pepper seasoning. Off they go into the fridge. At supper, I throw a handful into a hot skillet (no more oil is required), heat them quickly and give a quick sprinkle of salt and pepper. Perfect!
"Wonderful recipe, simple and delicious." ~ Lydia
"Very good." ~ Sarabeth
"What a great recipe!" ~ PaniniKathy
SIMPLE SKILLET GREEN BEANS
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
1 pound green beans, washed, tips snapped
1 tablespoon peanut oil or olive oil (see TIPS)
3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed flat with side of a knife, then roughly chopped
A little salt
1/4 cup water stirred with 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper
- Heat the skillet on MEDIUM HIGH and oil until shimmery.
- Add garlic, sprinkle with salt. Cook 30 seconds or til lightly golden, stirring.
- Add the beans, turn a few times to coat well with the oil.
- Stir in the water/sugar mixture. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Cover and cook 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, til beans are slightly wilted but still crunchy.
- Uncover and increase heat to HIGH. Cook 2 minutes (although mine took more in both 2007 and 2010) until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are cooked but still bright green.
- Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with the syrupy liquid from the skillet.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
Have the beans fully prepped before starting because the cooking moves fast.
Don't skip the garlic and do use fresh whole clovers rather garlic from a jar like my favorite garlic in jar.
CHANGES The inspiring recipe called for 3/4 pound of green beans and 1-1/2 tablespoons peanut oil.
In 2007, I used olive oil and it worked just fine. In 2010, however, I used the recommended peanut oil, it was great too. Peanut oil has an important advantage, it has a higher smoke point, an feature that's beneficial when cooking at a high temperature.