We all know how the story goes. You’re at the supermarket when you spot them sitting in front of the sale tag. Green beans. Your inner child cringes a little but the price is great and you think to yourself, “I should pick up a bag or two, after all, they’re good for me and I really should eat more vegetables.” Then you take them home where you either hide them in the back of the fridge and forget about them, or you boil, butter, and eat them, while thinking to yourself that they’re “just okay” if not a bit too bland and soggy for your liking.
I’ve been there and it’s not the greatest thing in the world, but I’d like to show you how to make green beans into a deliciously smoky and charred delight that is soft (but not soggy) with a little bite to it, and seasoned to perfection! I think it’s time to get excited about green beans to the point that you want to go back for seconds or even thirds!
The method for making the best ever green beans is simple and we’ll begin by washing and cleaning our beans. *For the best results use fresh, raw green beans, not ones that are frozen, precooked or canned.
Once washed, we’ll cut the ends off each bean. While we do this, be sure to set a pot (that can hold all your beans) filled with water to boil.
This is a basic recipe that includes our green beans, some melted fat (I’m using butter but you can use any oil or fat of your choice) and some salt and pepper to season.
Now, while this recipe is amazing on it’s own, there’s no reason why you can customize it in a number of ways from adding in some pan fried bacon, topping it with freshly shredded Parmesan, adding a touch of roasted garlic to it, or all of the above!
Right, onwards we go. With our beans prepped, we’ll blanch them by adding them to a pot of boiling water where we’ll cook them for 2 minutes before we remove them from the water and…
…immediately dunk them into an ice bath. This shocks the beans and stops them from cooking and helps them retain that bright green color. No one wants pale, grey-looking green beans!
Once they’ve cooled in the water, we’ll drain and dry them thoroughly. This step is vital for when we char them in our skillet because without them being dried off, they won’t char. Instead what will happen is that they will hit the hot pan and all the water on their surface will turn into steam and instead of charring and blistering, you will end up with soggy, hot, steamed beans. So pat your beans dry. If needed, use a paper towel or absorbent tea towel and work in smaller batches to make sure as much of the water on their surface is removed.
Speaking of which…while we’re drying our beans, we’ll get our skillet (cast iron is preferable) nice and hot to just about the smoking point.
To our skillet (can you see the smoke in the pic? It is HOT), we’ll add our fat of choice. Now, you can use a high smoke point oil such as coconut oil, I however used butter which will burn insanely quickly in a pan this hot so be careful. The moment you add your fat, immediately add the beans and quickly toss to coat. Once coated, leave them for a minute or so until they begin to char and their skin blisters.
Now, don’t say I didn’t warn you, but your kitchen can get VERY smoky when making this dish (especially if you use a fat with a low smoke point like butter) so be sure to open a window or door to ventilate your kitchen. The plus side is that smoke really penetrates the beans and gives them an absolutely wonderfully grilled flavor!
After a minute, toss your beans around to char the other side. Once you’re happy with the level of char on them, remove them from the heat and season with salt and pepper and add in any extras you might want to enjoy with it.
That’s it! So simple and the end result is a skillet of beans that are tender-cooked but not soggy with a wonderfully salty and smoky flavor.
The Best Ever Green Beans
Optional add-ins once cooked: crispy bacon bits, shredded parmesan cheese, roasted garlic
- Set a large pot of water to boil.
- Wash, clean, and prep your beans by cutting off the tips.
- Once your water has reached a rolling boil, add your beans and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- After 2-3 minutes, immediately remove your beans from the boiling water and dunk them into an ice bath. Once cooled, drain and pat them completely dry.
- Set a skillet on high heat and heat until it reaches its smoking point. Once smoking, add your melted butter (or fat of choice) and immediately add the beans and toss to coat.
- Lower your heat to med-high and allow your green beans to char and blister undisturbed for a minute before tossing and allowing the other side to char and blister as well.
- Once satisfied with the level of charring, remove your skillet from the heat and season your beans (to taste) with salt and pepper.
- Enjoy!Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- If you intend to add in bacon, consider using a thick cut and rendering it to crispy perfection in your skillet and then using the rendered fat in your beans.
- Note that butter has a low smoke point and will burn very quickly so if using you must add the beans at the same moment you pour in the butter. Alternatively you can toss the beans in the butter before adding it to the pan.
- This recipe leads to the creation of a wonderfully smoky flavor to your beans but it also creates actual smoke in your kitchen so be sure to properly ventilate your kitchen area.