Published November 1, 2008.
Parboiling, shocking, drying, sautéing—do you really need a four-step process to produce tender, evenly cooked beans?
The standard technique in most recipes for sautéed green beans goes something like this: parboil, shock in ice water, dry, and finally, sauté. While the method has advantages, sometimes we want things a little more streamlined.
We wanted tender, lightly browned, fresh-tasting beans, without all the fuss and in just one pan.
We reversed the standard process and sautéed the beans first. We briefly cooked the beans until they were spotty brown but not yet cooked through, then added some water. As soon as the water hit the skillet, it evaporated. We covered the pan so that the beans could cook in the steam. Once the beans were almost finished, we removed the lid, then blasted the heat once the lid was removed. This quickly vaporized the little water left in the pan and allowed us to promote additional browning before the beans cooked through. We also added a little softened butter once the water evaporated for richness and even more browning. As far as additional flavors, we limited extras to herbs, spices, and a few pantry items—these added complexity without tampering with the dish’s one-pan simplicity.list of recipes