This week I am sharing a recipe for Green Beans Amandine, an elegant and delicious side dish that is perfect for an Easter brunch or springtime dinner. It might sound fancy, but you won’t believe quickly this dish can come together.
Almonds are a key ingredient in this classic French side dish, and the word "amandine" translates into "almond" in English. In the culinary world, "amandine" (also called "almondine" in America) refers to dishes made with a garnish of almonds, like green beans, fish, asparagus and even potatoes.
The classic recipe calls for French green beans (haricot verts), which are often longer and more slender than other green beans. Haricot verts can be difficult to find in our area, and I was quite satisfied with the beautiful fresh green beans I found at my local Hornbacher’s grocery store.
The green beans are blanched in a pot of boiling water until al dente, or crisp tender, but not fully cooked — they will finish cooking with the almonds. This step can be done several days in advance or in tandem with the almond preparation. It is important to season the water generously with salt — I use 1 tablespoon — as this not only ensures that the beans have good flavor, but also helps them retain their bright color.
The typical preparation for green beans amandine is quick and simple and involves toasting sliced or slivered almonds in butter for several minutes until they become golden brown and fragrant. This can be done as the green beans are blanching.
The butter not only flavors the almonds but keeps them from burning during the cooking process. It also helps them cling better to the green beans. If you don’t want to use butter, you could use olive or canola oil in its place.
My recipe includes a few additional components to help enhance the bright, fresh flavor of the beans, including shallots, garlic and lemon. Once the almonds are moderately toasted, I add some finely chopped shallots and garlic and then saute the mixture for a minute or so to release their aromatics. I also add a small amount of the water from the green beans to prevent the tender ingredients from burning.
Next, the blanched green beans are transferred from the boiling water and added to the almond mixture. Everything is sauteed together just until the beans are tender, and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
The final flourish is a bit of fresh lemon zest and juice, which pulls all the flavors together.
I love the ease and versatility of these Green Beans Amandine, which sound and look a lot more elegant than their simple preparation would suggest. Plus, the speedy preparation, combined with the make-ahead steps, make this the perfect side dish for a holiday or even a busy weeknight.
For more great spring recipes, check out this week's Recipe Time Capsule or come visit me at sarahbakesnd.com. Bon appetit, and best wishes for a happy and delicious Easter.
Green Beans Amandine
Serves: 6 to 8
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon water (can take from the pot with the beans)
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt — this will ensure green beans are well seasoned (but not salty) and will also help the beans to retain their bright color.
Add green beans to the boiling water and blanch until they are crisp tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Green beans should be cooked just until al dente, as they will finish cooking once added to the almonds.
As beans are blanching, melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat until frothy bubbles appear. Add sliced almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds become golden brown and fragrant.
Reduce heat to low and add 1 tablespoon water from the pot with the green beans. Stir in shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring often.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer green beans from hot water to the frying pan. Toss green beans with almond mixture and cook over low heat until well-combined, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add lemon zest and juice, stirring to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.
Sarah’s Make-Ahead Tips:
- Green beans can be blanched 2 to 3 days in advance of using. Once they are crisp tender, remove from boiling water and transfer to a large bowl of ice water.
- When beans have cooled, remove from water and place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain off any excess water.
- Transfer beans to an airtight container or plastic zip bag and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.
- To serve, prepare almond mixture and add prepared green beans. Cook over low heat until beans are heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Recipe Time Capsule:
This week in...
- 2020: Buttertop White Bread
- 2019: Hot Cross Buns
- 2018: Symphony Spring Salad with Minty Orange Dressing
- 2017: Hotel Donaldson's Classic Lavosh
- 2016: Salade Nicoise
- 2015: North Dakota White Bean Puree
- 2014: Fresh Berry Friands
- 2013: Pasta Primavera
Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.
“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at email@example.com.