When guests sit down to the holiday spread, they may squeal with delight over the sight of crisp potato cakes, warm homemade rolls and creamy, cheesy cauliflower gratin.
But secretly, they’re glad you put out some green beans, too.
Because for all the over-the-top indulgences we can’t get enough of at this time of year, we also crave just a little respite with something fresh, crisp and green.
“Green Beans in Brown Butter and Ginger Fish Sauce” fits that bill.
It’s an easy side dish that comes together quickly. Blanched green beans (which can be prepped a day before) get sauteed in a hot pan of nutty brown butter. Fresh ginger, chili flakes, apple cider vinegar and fish sauce add complexity while also cutting some of the richness of the butter.
Crisp celery leaves and crushed peanuts are scattered over the top just before serving to add crunch and brightness.
Lee states in the Wall Street Journal that this dish is always the first one polished off during the holidays by his guests.
Proof enough that you should always make room on the table for some green beans.
Green Beans in Brown Butter and Ginger Fish Sauce
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce or another good quality Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from one bunch of celery
3 tablespoons crushed peanuts
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and lightly blanch the green beans for about 3 minutes. Drain beans and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water to cool completely, then lay them on paper towels to dry.
In a large stainless-steel skillet, heat butter over high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter browns and takes on a nutty aroma, 3-4 minutes. Take care not to let the butter burn. Turn heat down to medium and add green beans. Add white wine, fresh ginger, red chile flakes, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in quick succession. Turn heat up to high and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer beans to a large platter and garnish with celery leaves and crushed peanuts.
Serve immediately while still warm.
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY, as published in the Nov. 17-18, 2012 Wall Street Journal
More Veggie Sides with Asian Flair: Chinese-Style Brussels Sprouts with Hoisin Glaze
Plus An Inventive Squash Dish: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs