I, for my part, had a seen a recipe for Lemon Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts. And the spring air pushed me right over the edge into a total craving for green beans. And, by the way, not the kind that comes in a can or a frozen bag. No, the early feel of spring in the air had me longing for the fresh kind of green beans that come succulently out of My Mom's garden.
Unfortunately, green beans of this sort are not currently growing in South Carolina and don't look to be any time in the near future. The closest I could come was green beans grown in Mexico and shipped to South Carolina.
Yes, expensive and definitely not the politically-correct-eat-local-produce-in-season choice. Barbara Kingsolver would not be happy.
And then plunged into a nice ice cold bath to stop their cooking.
This is called "blanching" and leaves the freshest, half crisp, half tender, all delicious green beans ready to add to the shallots and pine nuts.
The green beans get several minutes of warming and tossing with the shallots and pine nuts, and then they're ready to pop on the table . . . just as the burgers are coming off the grill.
Then you place the warm and buttery green beans right where the warm and buttery sun is pouring in the window. And you smell shallots and hear the sizzle of the burgers and know that for a small moment in time all is right in your world.
Lemon-Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts (serves 4):
1 pound fresh green beans (ends trimmed and blanched in boiling water)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (that's what ReaLemon is; right?)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Drain blanched green beans well and pat dry. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for an additional minute. Add the green beans and toss to coat evenly. Cook just enough to warm through, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, salt, sugar, and pepper and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and serve.