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So as we are heading towards the New Years, I like to focus on fun, healthy, real food appetizers that I can serve to my guests. Here’s last years post on some great appy/tapas ideas. I’ve decided to continue the theme this year and I’d love if you got in on the action and contributed to the conversation. Please leave a link in the comment section if you’d like to include a post in the New Years Eve round up. I’ll be posting it on the 30th.

Last year we made prosciutto wrapped asparagus (among many others). This year I want to make green beans. These beans have a few steps but they are worth every one and in 10 minutes this dish can be from fridge to table. Anyone can handle that kind of time commitment, right?

Around this time of the year I often get asked, “What should I bring to a pot luck that I can put together in 10 minutes without looking like I bought dip and a bag of chips from the gas station?” Here is the answer to that question.

Now this recipe didn’t get any action last year because pine nuts were priced at something like 55 bucks a kilo. So needless to say I was not really into pine nuts. Now the price is less than half of what it was last year and so I bought a large bag that I keep in the freezer for moments like these. Pine nuts are not only the perfect compliment to beans, but to spinach and squash. So if you find some on sale I recommend picking up a bag.

These beans are good cold so don’t worry about having to keep them warm. There is only one thing you need to remember about beans. They only taste good cold of they are NOT over cooked. The following instructions have given me perfect beans every time.

Green Beans and Smoked Paprika Pine Nuts

  • 1lb green beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish spicy smoked paprika

You’ll need 1 large skillet or pot for the beans and a smaller frying pan for the onions and nuts.

Fill a large skillet or a pot with 6 cups of water and put it on to boil.

Meanwhile wash and trim the beans removing the stem end. Remove the skin from the onion and slice into wedges. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.

Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil. Add the pine nuts and stir frequently until golden brown. About 1 minute.

Watch these babies because once they start to turn golden, they turn quickly into black. They should take just over a minute if your pan was nice and hot when they went in.

Remove the nuts using a slotted spoon. Place the nuts on a paper towel to drain for a minute. Place the nuts in a bowl and toss with paprika and set aside. Put the frying pan back on the burner with the remaining oil.

Put the onion into the frying pan. Cook the onions for a few minutes. (total cooking time for the onions is about 8 minutes)


Start cooking the beans as the onions are frying


Add the garlic while the beans are draining

By now the water should be boiling. Add the beans to the water. Once the water returns to a boil, set the timer for 5 minutes. This will give you perfectly “not over” cooked beans every time. Drain the beans well. While the beans are draining add the garlic to the onions and cook for 30 seconds. Add the drained beans to the onion/garlic mixture. Add the pine nuts and the juice of half a lemon. Toss until well coated. Season with salt and pepper.

If you’re hosting the party, this is really easy to do, but if you’re going to someone else’s house, bring the ingredients trimmed and sliced and ask to borrow the kitchen for 10 minutes.

Toss the ingredients together and dig in!



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