Here is a classic recipe done my way: green beans almondine with almonds and lemon zest. Sounds fancy but it's not. Sliced almonds sautéed in butter add a nutty taste and satisfying crunch, jazzing up plain green beans. Lemon zest adds a pop of color and flavor. Besides topping green beans, try the almonds in salads and over other vegetables too. And for the best green beans, buy the French ones called Haricot Verts. This recipe is a nice alternative to heavier recipes (like green bean casserole) at holidays.
The Best Beans for Green Beans Almondine
When buying green beans (sometimes called string beans), I prefer the tender French ones called haricot verts. They are smaller, thinner and more flavorful. Haricot verts often come packaged with the ends snipped off, ready to go for cooking. You can buy them at Traders Joes, Costco, and many markets. My husband won't even eat regular green beans any more as these are so much better.
If you can't find them, any green bean will do for the recipe. When buying, look for bright green beans with no browning spots. Figure 3 ounces per person as a good serving.
Cooking Green Beans
To cook the beans, drop them into boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Remove immediately, drain, toss with olive oil, top with the almonds, citrus zest and serve.
To save time, cook the beans ahead of time by placing them right from the pan into a bowl of ice water to "shock" them and stop the cooking process. Drain and refrigerate for 5 days. That way they are ready to go for a busy week or holiday.
Browned Butter Almonds
For the almonds, buy sliced raw almonds and sauté them in unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter) until golden and fragrant. It takes just 5 minutes. Pour the almonds out of the hot pan onto a cold pan, a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Just get them out of the hot pan so they do not over brown.
Cool the almonds, then keep them in the refrigerator in a tight container. They keep for a month. These almonds have an amazing flavor. Use them to top other vegetables, toss into salads, top Greek yogurt or even add to steel cut oats for breakfast.
To Serve French Green Beans
To serve, place the green beans on a platter or plate, top with the almonds and lemon zest. For other garnishes, try:
- Chopped crumbled bacon
- Fresh chopped herbs
- Crumbled goat cheese
- Dried cranberries
For another easy and pretty green bean recipe try this one with pomegranate seeds.
Green Beans Almondine
- 2 teaspoons salt for the bean water
- 12 ounces green beans try baby green beans or Haricot Vert
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter ghee or plant butter
- 4 ounces sliced raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped parsley optional
- 1 lemon, zested
- Fill a medium pot (about 4 quarts) three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Add salt. Drop in the green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, toss with the olive oil and keep warm. Note - If pre-cooking green beans for later use, immediately drop the beans into a bowl filled with ice and water. Chill, drain, dry and place in the refrigerator well covered for 4 days.
- Add butter to a medium skillet or fry pan. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Don’t walk away from the stove as nuts burn quickly. When done, remove from the heat and serve over the olive oil-tossed green beans with citrus zest. Season with salt and pepper.
I want to make this ahead. How do you heat it up when time to eat it?
Sally Cameron says
Hi Patti. Cook the green beans ahead and shock in ice water to stop the cooking process and keep the beans a nice bright green, drain and dry. They will hold up to 4 days ahead. Make the buttered almonds ahead and zest too. When you want to serve, place the green beans in a shallow casserole or on a platter, cover with foil or a lid and heat in a hot oven about 350°F until hot. You can get the green beans out of the refrigerator an hour ahead to get the chill off, and they will re-heat faster. Timing is hard to say, maybe 20 minutes? Top with your garnishes before you put them on the table.