Mario Batali: For lovely summer green beans, a pesto twist
Fresh green beans are a summer favorite. Mario Batali offers this Charred Green Beans With Almond Marjoram Pesto recipe to make them a real standout at the dinner table.
Fresh fagiolini, or haricots verts as they're known in Italy's neighbor to the north, are some of the best indicators that summer has reached its peak.
Because green beans are harvested when young, the pods are tender and edible. In Italy, they're often cooked until just soft and simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. At my New York restaurant Otto, we serve blanched green beans with sweet charred Vidalia onions, olive oil and orange juice. That hint of acidity in the OJ heightens the freshness. In this recipe, I spice the beans up a bit with red chili and red wine vinegar.
Green beans are available year-round, but they are at their most delicious during the summer. Rather than packaged beans, try to buy beans that are sold loose in order find the freshest pods.
What we commonly think of as "pesto" is only one variety of the sauce. Pesto Genovese is the basil pesto native to the northwesterly Ligurian coast. This recipe is a riff on the Genovese version in which I use almonds rather than pine nuts and add fresh marjoram, one of my favorite summer herbs.
Fresh green beans are delicious on their own (even raw), but this takes them to the next level.
James Beard Award-winner Mario Batali, a Seattle native, is a chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality. His latest book is "Molto Batali."