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Roasted Green Beans With Garlic And Asiago

Serves 4

If using garden-fresh haricots verts (baby French green beans) it is quite common to just steam them for a few minutes, add a little butter, salt and pepper, and they are tender, sweet, crisp and delicious. However this is not the case with older, supermarket-bought mature green beans. They lack the flavor and texture when prepared in the traditional manner. This is where roasting changes all that and makes even tough, supermarket green beans a gourmet delight. Roasting in a hot oven (450° F) causes an enzymatic reaction changing the starch of old beans to revert back to sugar, which restores their sweetness. The chemical response (Maillard reaction) is browning which in turn creates flavorful green beans. If you like green beans, and if you follow this recipe exactly, you will not be disappointed. (My mother used to say if if were a horse we would all ride.)

1 lb Green Beans
1 TBS Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 TBS Asiago Cheese, grated fine

1. Line a sheet pan or similar baking pan with tin foil. Preheat oven to 450° F and put oven rack into the middle position.

2. Wash beans and remove the end stem portion by snapping them off with your fingers, or, if you’re like me (basically lazy) line them up evenly and cut them off with a knife. Pat dry with paper towels and place in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and using your hands, toss to coat.

3. Distribute beans evenly in one layer on baking pan and roast 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and move beans around with tongs. Sprinkle with minced garlic and put back in the oven to roast another 10 minutes or until they begin to shrivel and are turning dark brown.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl, adjust seasoning and toss with asiago, or divide onto individual plates and top with an equal amount of asiago. Serve hot.

Larry Irons is the author of the Bizarre Chef Newsletter. To sign up, send an email to: freenewsletter@bizarrechef.com.

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