This is a favorite side dish of mine that, for some reason, I haven’t made in years. Couldn’t tell you why. I made it Thursday night as a last minute decision—I had a bunch of haricot verts that I intended to boil quickly, shock, drain, and then cover in a bit of lemon butter. But, for the first time in forever, I was running out of butter. I very purposely didn’t buy it when I went shopping because every time I buy butter I find 4 sticks tucked away in the fridge.
Life is hard when you’re out of butter.
So I decided to roast them instead. Normally, when I make this I’m using full on, fat-assed green beans. And I learned through trial and error back in high school (when I first found this recipe, in an issue of Details, no less) that with green beans that thick, you just have to boil them first. You’ll never get them tender enough by roasting them without also burning the living hell outta them. But I was using lovely, slender, tender haricot verts and they require no pre-boiling whatsoever. They came out delicious, sizzling in a bit of olive oil, seasoned by chopped garlic and onion rings. During the last few minutes of cooking, I grabbed a lemon and squeezed it over the beans. It added a bit of bright flavor which really made a difference overall.
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s barely a recipe at all—it’s more of a method. Amounts just don’t matter; you could do this with one serving of beans in your toaster oven if you felt fanciful. Not that I recommend that if other people will be present. Jealousy runs high once the smell of this gets around; you’d better be ready to share.
I’ve never had this dish anywhere else, neither at restaurants nor people’s houses and when I make it for people, they are usually surprised. Apparently people aren’t roasting their green beans on a widespread level. So start a new trend, get to roasting!
Roasted Green Beans
Green beans or haricot verts, rinsed, ends trimmed
onion, sliced into rings
Like I said, the ingredients are vague because amounts just don’t matter. This is a method, not a recipe. If using green beans, boil until fork-tender, drain, and place on a baking sheet with a lip. If using haricot verts, just place on the sheet. Throw some chopped garlic in there, as much or as little as you want. Drizzle the beans with olive oil, but not too much. We don’t want to drown them, just barely coat them all. Salt and pepper the batch, and toss everything together gently with a spoon to evenly coat and season the beans. Place the onion rings over the top, rubbing a bit of oil on them if you like.
Place your oven rack in the second highest position, turn to BROIL, and put in the beans. Every five minutes or so, shake the pan and check your progress. Some of the beans will start to turn brown, the oil will start to sizzle slightly, and a heavenly aroma will begin to pour from your oven. Take a bean from the pan and test it. If they seem to be turning brown faster than they’re turning tender, move the rack down another notch.
Once you’ve determined that the beans only need a few minutes longer, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the beans and put them back in the oven. Once finished, remove the beans, garlic, and onion rings to a serving bowl or plate. I don’t have a picture of the finished product, because they were pounced upon pretty quickly. Next time!