Best Ever Green Beans Amandine

from "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without"
Yield: 4 - 5 servings

The classic preparation, only better.

photo © Robert MacKimmie
1 1/2 pounds green beans
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Leek "Chips" for garnish (recipe follows)
  1. Put up a large saucepan of water to boil.
  2. In the meantime, place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil or melt in the butter, and swirl to coat the pan. Turn the heat down to low, add the almonds, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the almonds give off a toasty aroma. During the last couple of minutes, stir in the garlic. (Be careful not to let any of it burn.) Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, when the water from Step 1 boils, turn the heat down to low, and add the green beans. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the beans turn bright green and shiny, and are beginning to become tender. (This is imprecise.) Dump the green beans into a colander in the sink, and drain thoroughly.
  4. Return the pan of almonds to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the green beans, turning them with tongs until they become completely coated (or at least well mingled) with the almonds. Sprinkle in the salt as you go. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, sprinkled with Leek Chips, if desired.


Leek "Chips"

from "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without"
Yield: About 2 cups

Leek rings are dried out and crispened in the oven–reminiscent, in a loose way, of those French-fried onion rings retro cooks used to decorate green bean casseroles. Only better!

Warning: These are addictive as a snack or nibble with cocktails–or as a topping to other dishes. You might need to make them often. Store in a covered container at room temperature.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-sized leeks (1 1/2-inch diameter)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a large baking try with foil and coat with the oil.
  2. Remove and discard the dark green leaves from the leeks. Slice off about 1/4-inch from the root end as well. (You'll want the white and pale green portions only.) Use a very sharp knife to cut the leek into 1/4-inch slices, then transfer them to a large bowl of cold water. Use your fingers and thumb to separate the slices into rings, then swish the pieces around vigorously to remove any sand or grit that might be hiding between the layers. With your hands or a large slotted spoon, lift the leek rings out of the water and transfer them to a colander in the sink. Drain thoroughly, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
  3. Distribute the leek rings onto the prepared baking tray, and toss to coat with the oil. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. (Note that some rings may be ready to remove at 30 minutes, others may take up to 60 minutes or longer–just remove them as they are done.)
  4. Transfer the finished "chips" to a plate, season to taste with a little salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature. These taste best within a few hours of being made.
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