I harvested about two pounds of green beans the other day, and then promptly turned them into Ina Garten’s “Green Beans Gremolata.” Are you familiar with this Italian-inspired dish? Here’s the recipe, along with the answer to your burning question: “What the heck is Gremolata?”
Gremolata is a classic condiment of garlic, parsley and lemon zest. It’s typically served on roasted lamb and grilled fish. Amend the basic formula by adding Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts, you’ll discover — just as I did — that Gremolata makes a molto delizioso “tossing sauce” for ordinary green beans!
Blanching the Beans
Trim 12-16 ounces (about a pound) of French green beans…
Then blanch the beans. That is, throw them into a big pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, setting your timer the moment the beans hit the water.
Next, quickly drain the beans in a colander, and them immediately drop them into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to retain the beans’ bright green color. The goal here is tender-crisp beans. Gray, boiled beans — the kind I grew up with and still hate to this day — are not allowed in this recipe.
Drain the beans in a colander, and then lay them out on a terrycloth towel. Blot the beans to dry them.
Making the Gremolata
Mince 2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic…
Chop enough parsley to equal 3 tablespoons…
And zest (i.e., grate the peel) of 2 lemons.
Throw the garlic, parsley, and lemon into a large bowl…
And stir in 3 tablespoons of finely-grated Parmesan cheese.
This next step involves toasted pine nuts. If you can find them already toasted in a jar at the grocery store, go ahead and use them. Otherwise, you’ll need to toast them yourself as follows:
Drop 2 tablespoons of pine nuts in a dry skillet…
And toss them about over medium-high heat until they color slightly and smell like…popcorn.
Let the nuts cool briefly, then stir them into the Gremolata.
Should I mention that Gremolata is addictingly-delicious? Honestly, I wanted to eat the whole bowl as-is. And maybe I did just that. And maybe I had to make a second batch to make up for what I ate. I’ll never tell!
Assembling the Green Beans Gremolata
Back to the beans…heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Then add the beans, and stir them about just until they are warm throughout — 2 minutes or less.
Off heat, stir in the Gremolata.
Then arrange the beans on a platter, dust them with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper…
And dive right in! Mr. Fox and I swooned after just one forkful of this unusual side dish (or is it a main course?). I think you will swoon too, if only you will give try it.
And if you DO try the dish, please post your review in the comments field below! Add stars if you like. I love to see stars without first having my head hit with a cast-iron skillet.
Need another great use for green beans? Try my Chicken Thighs en Papillote.
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And…here’s the printable:
Green Beans Gremolata
- 1 pound French green beans
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaved parsley
- 3 tablespoons finely-grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Olive oil - about 2 1/2 tablespoons
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.
- Make the Gremolata: toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts into a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat the oliv eoil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Add the beans to the pan and saute, turning frequently, until beans are coated with olive oil and heat through -- about 2 minutes. Off heat, add the Gremolata and toss well. Sprinkle with kosher salt and grinds of black pepper.