When it comes to cooking, it’s safe to say that sometimes we just don’t learn the basics. For example, I can whip up a whole tray of homemade chicken parmesan since it’s a family specialty, but when it comes to figuring out how to cook green beans, I find myself a bit stumped. (FYI: We’re not talking about the microwaveable type here.) Unless you went to culinary school or were pretty aggressive about learning how to cook at home, it’s likely that the processes of blanching, steaming, and boiling veggies is a little lost on you, even if you’re relatively comfortable in the kitchen.
You see, the best way to make green beans at home involves a few steps (as many of the finer things in life do). And as with most cooking techniques, there is more than one way to get to your end result—that is, serving food that not only tastes good but is worthy of second (or third) helpings. Below, we’ve included two simple ways to cook fresh green beans. Try both, and then see which one suits your taste buds.
First, select the type of fresh beans you’ll make—if you choose the thinner French haricots verts, then just cut the amount of time you cook the veggie in half. Rinse the beans, and then remove the ends either by lining them up in a row and cutting them with a knife or by snapping them off one by one.
METHOD 1 : SAUTÉ AND STEAM
As this method suggests, first you sauté the green beans, followed by a quick steaming session. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pan, and start to heat up your beans until they turn bright in color. This step is all about removing the moisture so the beans retain their signature “snap.”
Add a decent amount of water to the pan, and cover it right away. The water, plus the heat you’ve already injected into the beans, will allow it to steam for a few minutes. The pro of steaming is that it’s harder to overcook the beans, and it helps them keep their signature hue.
METHOD 2: BOIL AND STIR
This method requires you to put the beans in a skillet or frying pan, and pour water over them. (You only want to add a little; the goal is not to submerge them.) Bring to a boil, and cover once the water starts bubbling. Remove the lid, stir in some butter, and cook until the water evaporates.