When you think of green beans, how do you imagine cooking them? Steamed? Boiled? Stir-fried?
How about grilled?
Somehow this did not occur to me in Summers past, to grill green beans. Perhaps it was the thought that they would be too dry. Not so. Think of stir frying them in a blistering hot skillet or wok; on the grill you get the same result: smoky deliciousness. And preparing them couldn’t be simpler. Honestly, we don’t even stir them once they go on the grill – just toss them in an even layer on a grill pan (so they don’t fall through the grid and burst into flame) and let them sizzle away. They’re best left with a bit of crunch to offset the char. And if you want to brighten up their sultry flavor, squeeze a lemon over the top just before serving.
Green beans are at their peak in our farmer’s market right now, so we’ve been making these. A lot. You should too, and soon. It’s mid-August after-all and not long before we’ll be speaking of autumn abundance: apples, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts. But not yet.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper (or piment d'espelette)
- 1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of ½ lemon (optional)
- Preheat a grill to medium-high.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Add green beans to bowl and toss to coat evenly.
- Place beans in an even layer directly on the grill (carefully to keep them from falling through) or on a grill pan.
- Cook until crisp-tender and unevenly charred and blistered, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer beans to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over if desired. Serve.