Green beans, pole beans, string beans, whatever you know them as, have been a longtime favorite vegetable of mine. I’m even trying to grow my favorite skinny and delicate variety, haricot vert, although at the rate things are coming along, I expect the first harvest sometime around the first frost. I love salad with fried almonds, celery and pickled onions most of all, but also in a pesto potato salad and even in an old-school Thanksgiving casserole with crispy onions. But, as of this week, each of those preparations have been cast aside for my new favorite, green beans with almond pesto. I spied this photo on some guy’s Instagram last week and guys, I had no idea how he made these or what recipe of his this might be but (I mean this warmly) I also didn’t care. I knew what I wanted them to taste like — the photo had me dreaming of a nutty and loud sauce that clung to every string of bean — and made it so, dusting off the almond pesto from the cookbook and applying it to a rainbow of beans, cooked until just crisp-tender.
2 pounds green beans
1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) almonds, toasted and cooled
1 1/4 ounces (about 1/3 cup grated) parmesan or aged pecorino cheese, but no need to grate if using a food processor
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Leaves from a sprig or two of thyme
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
2 to 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Trim green beans — I find using kitchen shears the quickest way — and cook beans in boiling water until crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes for regular green beans or 2 to 3 minutes for the skinnier “haricot vert” variety. Plunge in an ice water bath to fully cool. Drain and pat dry. (If you have no patience for the precision of ice water baths, take the green beans out a full minute early as they will continue cooking as they cool.)
In food processor, grind almonds, cheese, garlic, thyme, pepper and salt to a coarse paste. Add vinegar, and pulse again. Stir in oil and adjust seasonings to taste. Toss cooled green beans with almond pesto. Drizzling with extra olive oil for a fresh glisten. Dig in.