Food & Wine (March 2013)
When we went to China a year and a half ago, we were a little obsessed with green beans.
We ate them as side dishes at several different meals. Sometimes, they were cooked with Sichuan peppercorns, imparting the beans with a lemony, oddly pleasant mouth-numbing effect. Other times, they were prepared more simply, with plenty of black pepper.
These Chinese Long Beans with Cracked Black Pepper from Food & Wine are the latter -- no mouth-numbing here. Just a straight-up green bean dish that, as F&W puts it, uses pantry staples to amp up a simple vegetable dish.
As we mentioned last week, this month mark's F&W's 35th anniversary, and the magazine took the opportunity to revisit some of its favorite chefs' dishes from previous years. These green beans are a 2002 recipe from chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
The prep is crazy simple. (We couldn't find Chinese long beans, so we subbed in green beans instead, per the recipe's recommendation. Interestingly, we almost always see Chinese long beans at out local Harris Teeter supermarket, but on the day we shopped for this recipe, there were none to be found. Ain't that always the way?) Basically, you just stir-fry everything in sequence, then add some water to make the beans tender, add the soy sauce and pepper, and you're good to go.
We really liked this dish. Is it going to blow anybody's socks off? Probably not. But as the magazine says, it's a nice way to use stuff you've already got in your pantry to add new flavor to green beans.
We still want to tackle the Sichuan peppercorn version at home, though! Maybe soon...
Total time: 25 mins | Serves 4
INGREDIENTS1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
1/2 red bell pepper, peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, until lightly browned. Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Add the water, cover and cook over moderately low heat until it has evaporated and the beans are tender, 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve.