I tried, I really did. I just couldn’t get a good photo of this evening’s side dish. So for your amusement, I’ve created a stylized (*ahem*) rendition of a green bean with a strawberry. They look rather happy together, don’t they? Each in its own lopsided way.
What’s a green bean got to do with a strawberry, you may ask? The truth is, I have no idea. I just needed something to lend a little chutzpah to the skinny, sedate French beans I served with supper. I spotted the basket of forgotten strawberries from the corner of my eye and thought “yeah, that’ll do.” It did indeed. I’d forgotten how wonderful strawberries taste with freshly ground black pepper. They’re also a soft, juicy contrast to turgidly crunchy beans.
This is one of those non-recipes that’s too simple to really be a recipe. The only rule is to try to balance the green beans with the strawberries. A ratio of two to one is about right, I think.
green beans and strawberries
1 bunch green beans, washed and trimmed
olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
- Place a large sautÃ© pan or skillet on a medium flame and toss a bunch of green beans into it.
- While the green beans are cooking, rinse and trim some strawberries and slice them in half. Then slice the halves into thick matchsticks.
- Toss the green beans around periodically, and cook until they just turn a bright shade of green.
- Transfer the beans to a large bowl, combine with strawberries.
- Drizzle with good olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Taste and correct seasoning. If you’d like the salad to be sweeter, add more strawberries.
- Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Instead of freshly ground black pepper, use freshly cracked black pepper for more pronounced heat and black pepper flavor.
- Try shaving or grating some parmigiano-reggiano on top.
- Crumble some good quality freshly fried bacon on top.
- Serve with prosciutto.
- Deconstruct the dish by cooking the strawberries separately with balsamic vinegar and reducing them to a sauce. Season liberally with cracked or ground black pepper. Spoon the hot or cold sauce over the green beans. (This is the most peculiar, yet intriguing suggestion I could think of. If anyone tries it, do let me know how it turns out.)
- Reduce the green beans to a sauce, and spoon it over the cold strawberries. Just kidding.