This recipe is based on one by Ris Lacoste in a Cooks Illustrated magazine. I used a small fraction of the oil she called for, and it was still plenty rich and VERY delicious! She calls for roasting chunks of garlic with the green beans, but I used garlic oil (already in my ‘fridge—see recipe options below) because I didn’t want to deal with chunks of burned or raw garlic. Garlic always seems to roast faster than the other veggies when I try it. However, if you are reluctant to make the garlic oil (either variation), just use regular olive oil.
And if you want to try roasting the garlic like she recommends (but I didn’t try this), Ms. Lacoste says to take a whole head of garlic, peel the cloves, quarter each clove lengthwise (if the cloves are small, halve them), and add them to the green beans before roasting, and toss them with the olive oil.
Adding the Parmesan cheese is delicious, but it’s kind of like gilding the lily, these beans are so good even without it—the lemon zest and pine nuts are wonderful with the crispy but tender beans.
2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed well, stem ends trimmed
3 tablespoons garlic oil (see recipes, below) or olive oil
about 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 medium lemons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup pine nuts
2 to 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Put the beans in a large bowl. Toss the beans with the garlic oil, about 2 tablespoons of the lemon zest (use about 2/3 of the amount you have), and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
2. Coat two or three rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray, and then spread the beans on the sheets and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir the beans with a spatula and continue roasting until they are lightly browned and tender throughout, another 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, spread the pine nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the bottom of the oven until just golden, about 5 minutes. Watch them carefully, and stir them around as necessary to keep them from burning. (They go from pale to burnt in a micro-second.)
4. Transfer the beans to a shallow bowl and dress with the lemon juice and the remaining lemon zest. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, if you decide to use it, while the beans are still nice and hot so the cheese melts. Serve hot or at room temperature.
the easiest garlic oil:
Mash or mince 3 or 4 garlic cloves and cover with ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Let steep for 30 minutes if you have time. Strain out the garlic and store the oil in the refrigerator.
olive oil infused with roasted garlic:
This is a recipe for the olive oil that I bring to the market to sell when I’ve just made the Alaskan cheese & roasted garlic bread. It’s the leftover garlic oil that we use to roast the garlic—actually, the garlic is slowly poached in the oil, but it tastes so much like roasted garlic that I call it roasted. The garlic is sweet and soft and luscious, and the resulting oil has wonderful, mellow flavor that is intensely garlicky at the same time. Keep it refrigerated. It’ll solidify in the refrigerator, but just scoop out a spoonful and let it come to room temperature, and it’ll be perfectly good. It’s great for roasting just about any vegetable. Or you can dunk your toast in it!
You might be wondering what do you do with the garlic? Well, just use it in anything that calls for roasted garlic! Spread it on toast, put it in salad dressings, or mash it with a fork and add it to a soup or a stew that needs a little perking up. I keep it in a pint jar in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to use any time!
several heads of garlic, cloves peeled
olive oil (you don’t need extra-virgin olive oil for this—the garlic imparts so much flavor that you can use regular olive oil)
1. Put all the whole peeled garlic cloves in a heavy pot. Cover the garlic cloves completely with olive oil.
2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Give the garlic a stir, and then turn the heat down to the absolute lowest possible heat, cover the pot, and simmer just at a bare bubble. Stir the garlic occasionally and continue to cook until the garlic cloves are completely soft and tender, and you can easily squish them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. This will probably take an hour or more, but check after 45 minutes.
3. Uncover the pot and let cool. Strain the garlic from the oil. This garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for roasted garlic. You can freeze the garlic indefinitely (I keep it in pint-sized canning jars in the freezer), and just take