Green beans and parsley redefined

Every once in a while — often enough to keep me trying new recipes — I stumble across one that redefines a food (or two). This is one of those

Fall in northern Iredell County. The view from the living room.

recipes — made me almost forget the tender turkey breast glazed in summer’s peach preserves and next to the beans on last night’s dinner plates.

When Stoic the Vast brought in fistfuls of parsley from the herb garden, we both commented on its wonderful fresh smell, but we had no idea what it would taste like, combined with toasted pine nuts, Worcestershire, garlic and olive oil. I guess this is a parsley pesto, which I’ve always scorned, but nevermore quoth the raven and I. It is abfab.

And the green beans he froze last month? Rejuvenated, restored and remade into something bright and interesting, a vegetable that does waaaay more than swim in condensed mushroom soup and fried onion strips. We might eat this for Thanksgiving dinner.

Having just read Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, I’d splurged on a wee $10 bottle of good California oil, so I’m sure that played a part as well. When I tasted the oil as Mueller advises, I’d indeed felt the trademark burn at the back of my throat that he says is the mark of oil containing actual anti-oxidants, not a bunch of stuff we don’t want to think about.

Green beans glisten with olive oil and are crunchy with nuts and chopped parsley.

The food network recipe calls for walnuts. Of course, I didn’t have any and substituted pine nuts. As usual, I charred the pine nuts when toasting, but since I like the faint taste of charcoal around the edges, I was not unhappy.

Green Beans with Walnut-Parsley Sauce

1/3 cup toasted walnuts

1-1/4 cups parsley

1 smashed garlic clove

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1-1/2 pounds fresh or frozen green beans

Put walnuts, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and salt in food processor. With motor running, add oil and process until coarsely chopped and blended. Cook beans (4 to 5 minutes in boiling water) until tender-crisp, drain and top with sauce. Probably should serve 6.

Irrepressible summer flowers blooming for Halloween.

For the last few days I’ve been freezing fresh herbs for winter soups and stews. Just put about a tablespoon of leaves in each compartment of an ice cube tray. Cover leaves with water and freeze. When a winter recipe calls for fresh thyme, oregano or parsley, you’re ready. When cubes have frozen, simply dump into reclosable freezer bag. (You can use broth instead of water for even more flavor.)

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