This past Thanksgiving, as I was choosing dishes to include on our menu, I came across several recipes for the classic table fare, “Green Bean Casserole.” If you know me, then you know that I would never spoon that into my mouth; it’s full of unnecessary fat and calories. I would rather put my calories into the Acorn Squash Stuffing I was making, a glass or two of wine, and of course a slice of Pumpkin Pie!
Whenever my mother has made green beans, she has done it this way, par boiling the beans, then sautéeing them in butter (she’s a traditionalist when it comes to French food!) with almonds, shallots, garlic, and a touch of lemon. We are sticking g with the traditional spelling of this French preparation and using Amandine as opposed to Almondine, the way it is often spelled in Amari an cookbooks.
Here is our no-fail recipe for this classic French favorite. You can substitute Earth’s Balance spread or Ghee (clarified butter) if you don’t want to use regular butter. I prefer the taste of butter to olive oil, especially since this dish is très Français! The buttery flavor compliments the almonds and carmelizes the shallots to perfection; and that is the point of doing them “Amandine!”
- 1 pound of French green beans trimmed
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of (heaping) raw sliced almonds
- 2 medium shallots, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
- zest of one small lemon
- 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water liberally with kosher salt. This is an important step: salting the water ensures that the green beans will be seasoned properly inside and out, and also helps them retain their bright green color.
- Blanch or par boil the green beans for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are crisp-tender. It is important that the green beans be slightly undercooked as they will be transferred directly to the skillet and will continue cooking during this time.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat until lightly bubbling. Add the sliced almonds and sauté, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown. Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped shallots and garlic. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly caramelized.
- Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the blanched green beans from the boiling water directly to the skillet. Sauté briefly, gently but constantly tossing the green beans with the almond mixture until evenly combined and the green beans are tender about 10 minutes. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, toss once again, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.