Beautifully and deliciously simple, Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots, is a fresh, light, and easy side dish alternative to the popular green bean casserole – no need for heavy creamed soup additives here!
Green beans or yellow beans, or a combination of both, like you see here, doesn’t need to be complicated or cumbersome. If you buy fresh beans, then you need very little ingredients to make them taste extra special.
I’m from the school of people who tend to favour shallots over onions. Don’t be mistaken, I love onions too, but when preparing a dish as simple and delicate as Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots, I’ll always use shallots. Shallots have a milder flavour and should always be used a compliment to the main ingredient, as in the case the these beans.
Since green beans are commonly eaten raw just because they are delightfully crunchy and delicious in their natural form, when cooking beans, you shouldn’t over complicate the dish by adding lots of spices, herbs, or other ingredients. Let the bean be the star!
If you’re new to the world of green beans, and I’m going to assume that everyone knows what they are, but might not have cooked or eaten them before. Remember, Dear Reader, I was once one of those people who shunned all vegetables at all times – especially the green ones! And, it might just be that green beans are not what you refer to them as in your geographical area. According to the trusty internet, green beans are commonly referred to as French beans, string beans, snap beans, or snaps.
Green beans are relatively available anywhere and anytime. They are eaten around the world, and are available canned, frozen, and fresh. Green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. A dish with green beans popular throughout the United States, particularly at Thanksgiving, is the green bean casserole, which consists of green beans, (of course!) canned cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions. I love that casserole!
Some restaurants serve green beans that are battered and deep fried as well. Sounds good though, doesn’t it? I’ve had Japanese tempura green beans, so I guess in essence, that’s the same thing with the only exception of the batter being much lighter. And now, the ever popular green bean is sold dried, and fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas, as vegetable chips and they’re seriously one of my favourite snacks!
But snacks won’t do for a dinner side dish. And, sometimes, when serving green beans as a side, you want them to be healthier and lighter, so you forego the canned condensed mushroom soup and do a simple saute instead.
In this recipe, I’m using green beans and yellow beans, and that’s exactly what I call them. However, some people call yellow beans wax beans. To be honest, I thought they were the same as green beans, but maybe just not allowed to come out and play in the sun during growing season like the green bean. But, according to Martha Stewart, the wax bean is a type of snap bean with a slightly mild flavour, similar to green beans. So, there you have it! If Martha Stewart says they’re similar to green beans, then that’s good enough for me!
Now, using a combination of green beans and yellow (wax) beans is not necessary for this recipe. You can use a combination or all of one colour or the other. When all is said and done, you’ll have a very delicious and healthy side dish that will be enjoyed by all!
Sauteed Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
- 2 pounds green or yellow beans, tips trimmed
- 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the butter and the olive oil, along with the shallots and salt.
Saute the shallots until caramelized. Slow is the way to go to get a good caramelized shallot. Allow 30 minutes of saute time for this part of the recipe.
Next, toss in the green and yellow beans, and the black pepper. Toss to coat with caramelized shallots.
Saute the beans for 5 minutes. The beans will be heated all the way through, but still have a little crunch. If you prefer a softer green bean, saute for an additional few minutes.
Plate and serve immediately.
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