Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gingered Green Beans W/Caramelized Shallots

As I sit in my kitchen, snapping the ends of a big basket of fresh green beans, I keep hearing this voice in my head saying....no wait, almost singing...."Busy girls are happy girls." I remember snapping green beans with my best friend, her mother's voice prompting us like a soothing melodic chime.....but despite her sweet 'chiming' voice, we weren't fooled for a second by the veiled suggestion that if we didn't like our current task, she'd have been MORE than happy to "accommodate" us with another one.

This was the scene nearly EVERY summer growing up, when the garden was ripe for the picking. Basket after basket after basket. Snap, snap, snap! And you know what? She was right. We really were happy 'busy' little 'snappers'.

So for this recipe I'm calling on a couple of my most vivid childhood memories for inspiration. My days as a missionary kid were filled with the scent and sizzle of garlic & ginger hitting my father's seasoned old wok! As a matter of fact, the wok in these photos is that very same one: it's well over 25 years old! Even today, those smells and sounds still immediately transport me overseas.

This dish brings together those childhood nostalgic tastes and smells, as well as my love for "farm to table" cooking and there's nothing that says "Summer" quite like freshly snapped green beans, straight from your garden or local farmers market!

Gingered Green Beans W/Caramelized Shallots


1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans (ends snapped)
2 medium sized shallots, thinly sliced (about a pound)
1 tablespoon  or more of fresh ginger, smashed, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 tablespoons oil of choice
coarse ground pepper and sea salt to taste


1. Prepare the beans by washing and snapping off the ends. Blanch the green beans by dropping them into a large pot of salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain them and plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. They should turn a vibrant green color. Do not over cook. Pat dry.

2. Thinly slice the shallots and mince the ginger & garlic then pre-heat a wok or pan over medium heat.

3. Add the oil, then add the shallots, ginger and garlic to the oil. Let them SLOWLY fry in the oil for about 10-15 min. Caution: If the oil is too hot, the mixture will brown to quickly. If done slowly, they should turn a nice golden brown at the end of the 15 min.

4. When the shallot mixture is nice and golden, turn up the heat to medium high and add the green beans to the wok/pan.

5. Toss the green bean mixture till well combined then evenly spread the beans out over the wok/pan. Allow to fry for a minute or two, then stir and spread out the mixture again, frying for another minute or so. The goal is to allow the green beans to brown sligthly in areas. Over all this will take about 8-10 min.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper (to taste) and ENJOY!