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Green Beans with Anchovies

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Green Beans with Anchovies, Parmesan and Pine Nuts.
For a vegetarian version, you could use miso paste or soy sauce.
Green beans with anchovies, Parmesan and pine nuts.
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Like millions of you, I am a home cook. I get dinner on the table for my family day after day. I plan the main dish, the vegetables (I always serve two so any pickier kiddos have a choice) and the sides.

And if you're

anything like me, your default is to spend your creative energy on the protein or main dish. The sides and veggies? Afterthoughts. A steamed this or roasted that. Whatever.

But what if we spent more of that energy on trying new and more interesting vegetable recipes, and let the protein be the simple (side) dish on the table? I'm a firm believer that one of the best ways to become a healthy eater is to make vegetables in a million different ways, thereby making them more interesting and appealing. What a great way to bump up your vegetable consumption.

One of my favourite ways to mix things up and make my vegetables more interesting is to parcook (partially cook) them, then sautÈ them in a small amount of aromatic fat. Traditionally, this calls for blanching the vegetables boiling them briefly, then plunging them into an ice bath then sautÈing them.

However, my weeknight hack is even simpler. I just briefly steam the vegetables in a covered dish in the microwave, then uncover them, drain them and pop them into a skillet.

I showcased this technique in today's recipe. I microwave green beans, then sautÈ them in a little olive oil flavoured with garlic, red pepper flakes and (your new favourite ingredient) anchovies. Anchovies are the surprise that add saltiness and savoury umami to your veggies. For a vegetarian version, you could use miso paste or soy sauce. Either way, expanding your veggie repertoire and letting the meat take second seat will help you break out of your dinner rut in a healthy way.

Green Beans with Anchovies, Parmesan and Pine Nuts

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

n 1 pound French green beans, trimmed

n 1tbsp olive oil

n 2 cloves garlic, minced

n 4 anchovy fillets, minced and pressed almost into a paste (or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste)

Pinch red pepper flakes

n 2tsp red wine vinegar

n 3tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet until golden

n 3tbsp grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese

n Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

n Ground black pepper to taste

Method

1. In a microwave-safe dish with a cover, combine the green beans with 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave on high for three minutes. Let sit for one minute, covered, to steam, then uncover and drain the water.

2. Meanwhile, in a large sautÈ pan over medium flame, heat the oil. Add the garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook until very fragrant, about two minutes.

3. Add the drained green beans and toss to coat well (be careful, as they may splatter a bit from the residual water on the beans).

4. Cook for three minutes, add the vinegar and pine nuts, then toss again. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with Parmesan, parsley and pepper.

- Melissa d'Arabian,

Associated Press