One woman's foray into cooking for herself, for her family, and for her friends. It's not always picture-perfect, sometimes a little messy, but it's always delicious. Join me in exploring new recipes, savoring the "résultats" and learning from the "erreurs".
When I was younger, everyone seemed to love the green bean casserole with the cream of mushroom soup, topped with the French-fried onions with their turkey dinner. I still love green beans, but the old stand-by casserole? Not so much...
Thankfully, my sister, who's in town for a few days, found an alternative recipe using green beans in one of the recent Fine Cooking magazines. This takes green beans to whole new heights! The mushrooms and shallots are a wonderful textural contrast to the still fresh-tasting green beans, and the warm vinaigrette coats the vegetables in additional delicious flavor. And then we get to top the whole thing with crispy, crumbly pancetta. The flavor is great, and the colors are beautiful... THIS is a green bean dish I can get on board with!!!
Green Beans with Crispy Pancetta, Mushrooms, and Shallots Serves 8
1-1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2-1/2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (five or six 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium cremini mushrooms, trimmed, halved if large, and very thinly sliced
2 medium-large shallots, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and water and set aside. Fill a 6- or 7-quart pot two-thirds full of well-salted water. Bring the water to a boil, and boil the beans, uncovered, until tender to the bite, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, transfer the beans to the bowl of ice water, and let sit until cooled, about 2 minutes. (This completely stops the cooking process and retains the color of the beans.) Drain and pat dry.
Put the pancetta in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and coarsely crumble. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until both are nicely browned and shrunken, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Take the pan off the heat and add the vinegar, mustard, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Stir to combine.
Return the pan to medium heat, add the green beans and toss to combine and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a warm serving platter and garnish with the pancetta.
Make ahead: The beans can be boiled and refrigerated up to 6 hours ahead. The remaining ingredients can also be prepped up to 6 hours ahead and held in the refrigerator. An hour before finishing, remove the beans from the refrigerator to come to room temperature.