Blistered Green Beans: Holy Smokes!

I recently purchased the season’s most beautiful green beans at the market: perfectly formed, deep green, tender, and still rich with the earth’s muskiness. I bit into one and instinctivey knew that little more was necessary than a quick turn in the pan.

On the drive home, mulling over those lovely green beans, my mind did a quick search and brought up the fabulous fried beans served at PF Chang’s. The ones that are so addictive you can’t eat just one. Something like that, but without the tempura business. I recalled a Sichuan recipe I had snipped out of Cooking Light magazine with stir-fried green beans in a spicy red pepper sauce. It made my mouth water thinking about them.

I was right, these will make your mouth water, too. Beware: they are hot and addictive, so have something cool and refreshing close at hand. Here’s my highly recommended version.

Blistered Green Beans
Inspired by Cooking Light magazine 9/08

1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp oil, divided
1/4 cup onion or shallots, chop well
1 ½ tbsp garlic, mince
1 tbsp ginger, peel and grate
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Blanch green beans in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes, until tender-crisp and rinse in cool water. Drain, place on towels and pat dry to avoid pan spattering. (Can be prepped ahead)

When ready, heat large deep skillet or wok over high heat and add 1 1/2 tsp oil to coat interior. Add beans and stir-fry 3 minutes or until blistered and browned; remove them from the pan.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil to the pan and coat interior. Add onion or shallots, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper; stir fry briefly until garlic begins to brown. Return beans to pan. Add vinegar, soy and salt. Toss to combine and reheat. Depending on heat tolerance, serves 4 to 6 ~~

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