This dish was taught to me by a wonderful couple whom I have known since I was about 3 years old. They were our neighbors in Palo Alto, and my sister and I would always torment them with questions. For example, once we saw her in front of her house with a friend, who cried while digging a little hole in the yard. Our onslaught of questions began: “why are you digging the hole?” (her friend’s cat had died and they were burying it). “why did the cat die?” and so on as the friend wailed ever louder. It’s a miracle these people still love us! Anyhow, this couple is truly amazing- they are so healthy and diet conscious, introducing us to things like almond butter and sprouted breads.
A few years back, we went with them to Palm Springs, where they have a time share apartment. After a long day of hiking, they prepared a great dinner with a beautiful green bean dish. I don’t remember what else they served us, but I have relied on this dish many times; it is so easy to make and always comes out great. Good as a side dish or even mixed with pasta, I could really just eat a big bowl of these green beans and be happy as a clam. French green beans are different than regular green beans- they are skinny and long, and I think they taste much better. Look for these (also called haricot verts) in the frozen food section; I assume this dish can also be made with non-frozen beans, but I haven’t been able to find those anywhere.
– 1.5 lbs of frozen french green beans (they sell this size at trader joe’s)
– 4-5 cloves of garlic
– Olive oil
– Salt and pepper for seasoning
– Dried red chili pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Dump the frozen beans onto the sheet and spread out evenly. Crush the garlic with a garlic press directly onto the beans, and pour some olive oil on top. Don’t over do it with the olive oil; they don’t need a lot. Mix the beans until they are coated with the oil and garlic (sometimes the garlic will gather in a little pile in one spot on the tray; try to spread it out as much as possible). Season with some salt and pepper, and if you like it spicy, add some chili flakes (make sure not to over salt it! a few shakes is generally good enough).
Cook in the oven for a total of 25 minutes, stirring half way through. This is what they look like mid-way through the cooking process:
The green beans will be slightly crunchy once cooked all the way.