Tuesday, July 15, 2008

22. Green Beans with Almonds (p. 522)

Most recipes for Green Beans Almondine call for slivered or sliced almonds. If you don't believe me, check out the four different versions of the dish at greenbeansnmore.com. (Isn't the Internet great? There's a website out there about everything.) This recipe changes up the usual formula by using ground almonds.

The recipe is pretty simple. First, you grind skinned almonds in the food processor.

Let me just pause here for a moment to comment about the use of words like "skinned" and "shelled" in cookbooks. These two words cause me a great deal of stress when I come across them in a recipe, because they are their own antonyms. According to M-W Online, the verb "skin" and its inflected form "skinned" means both "to strip, scrape, or rub off an outer covering (as the skin of a rind)" and "to cover with or as if with skin." Likewise, the adjective "shelled" means both "having a shell" and "having the shell removed." Ugh! So, there I was in the nut aisle at Whole Foods on Sunday morning agonizing about whether The Book wanted me to get skinned almonds or skinned almonds. (Couldn't you just say "almonds without skins" or "almonds with skins"? Help me out folks.) In the end I just bought some skinned almonds.

See what I mean? You have no idea whether I chose with or without skin. I'm just saying. (I chose blanched whole almonds without skin.)

OK, now that my rant is over, back to the beans. You melt some butter in a skillet and saute some garlic for a little bit. Add the ground almonds to toast. Toss in the green beans (that you have trimmed and cooked for a short time in boiling water).

This recipe was just OK. The Book calls them "the best green beans we've ever had." I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. I thought that there was too much of the nut topping, and it didn't really coat the beans like The Book said it would. Most of it ended up at the bottom of the serving dish. The flavor was OK, but not very almond-y. Even after toasting, the blanched almonds still had that odd bland, waxy taste that blanched almonds have (like those weird candy-coated almonds that they used to give away as wedding favors). It did have a nice crunch, though. But, in the end, I would have preferred sliced or slivered almonds in this recipe. Actually, I really enjoy plain fresh green beans just steamed for a few minutes until they get bright green but are still very crisp. I guess I'm a green bean minimalist.

Date Cooked: July 13, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: C

1 comment:

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

You didn't like these? Rats, you could have air-mailed them to me--I LOVED these when I made them. Oh well, different strokes etc.

Btw, how do you interpret "more than one way to skin a cat"? :-D To me, that verb or adjective always means to take the skin off (or the state of having the skin taken off). Ditto with shelled.