Green beans are that all-dependable vegetable that will match almost any main dish. It’s my fallback when I am in a hurry and want an easy side dish.
For years, my go-to cooking technique for green beans was to steam them, then just add butter or oil, salt and pepper, toss and serve. I also would simmer them in boiling salted water until just crisp, then drain and transfer them to a serving bowl with a bit of butter and seasoning.
Through the years, though, I have discovered that roasting or blanching and then sauteing bring out the inherent sweetness in the glorious green bean.
Roasting the beans and seasoning with a tahini and sesame seed dressing is Oakland, Calif., chef Tanya Holland’s answer to a simple green bean dish. In her cookbook “Brown Sugar Kitchen,” she showcases Southern-style dishes from a California point of view.
Green beans are available year-round and can be found in different sizes at your market. I choose the smaller ones because they cook quickly, are tender and can be a bit sweeter than the larger ones.
To trim green beans, wash them in cold water and break off both ends. I like to leave them whole, but you can cut them in pieces.
Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.
Roasted Green Beans with Sesame Seed Dressing
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound green beans, trimmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set a rack to the top position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil (or just lightly oil it).
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, oil, vinegar, tahini, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Add the green beans and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and black pepper.
Spread the beans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings.