Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 lb. green beans (any type as long as they’re young and fresh)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tsp. (a “pat”) of butter (no need to measure!)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Squeeze of lemon juice
Trim the beans, and “top and tail” them—remove the stem and the little squiggle tail. If you want you can cut them into pieces, or just leave them whole.
Place in a non-aluminum pan with a good lid. Add 1/2 cup water—if you increase the recipe amount, you do not need more water in proportion to the increased amount of beans; think about it as just enough water to completely evaporate in 4 minutes. Grate the garlic on a fine grater (microplane is great), right into the beans. Add the butter and salt, and cover the pan tightly.
Five minutes before you’re ready to serve the beans, turn the flame to high. Cook undisturbed for 4 minutes, and then check for doneness and if they are still too crisp for your tastes, cook another minute. If you run out of water, all you need do is add a tiny bit more. If you end up with a lot of liquid, you started with too much—next time, use less.
Turn the beans in the pan so that they become uniformly buttered, and the garlic distributes evenly. Taste for salt, and add a bit of pepper if you like, and a light squeeze of lemon juice. Serve hot.
Notes: This recipe works with a good many other vegetables; summer squashes, carrots, broccolini. Slice young squash (zucchini, yellow crookneck, etc.) so that the pieces are evenly thick. Use the exact same recipe as above, with the garlic if you like—or without. Let the water go completely dry, and then turn down the flame, and let the squash brown a bit in the butter at the end.