I am a big believer in the concept that really rich, delicious food does not need to be complicated. This side dish is one example; it relies on a host of sharp flavors to punch up the flavor of briefly cooked green beans. The range of distinct flavors contained in the dressing is rounded out by the creamy richness of the Gorgonzola cheese.
As luck would have it, this recipe is very simple to prepare; briefly cook the shallots and garlic in the oil, add the rest of the ingredients except for the cheese, and reduce the volume, remove from heat and then add the cheese. All that is left is to pour it over some blanched and cooled green beans. I guess you could also steam them if you prefer. Makes no difference to me. There is so little to screw up about this dish that it can make even those who feel clumsy and tense in the kitchen look pretty impressive. We served it with some pork that had been marinated in harissa and then pan seared.
For those that are a little more fluent with flavor combinations, you will realize that there is really nothing unique about the dressing. If fact, some additions and alterations can stretch it easily to other purposes. For example, try caramelizing some onions first, incorporating them into the sauce and serving it with asparagus or dialing the vinegar back, adding some citrus juice and serving it with steamed carrot (although mint might be a better choice than the basil and you may want to reduce the cheese). I always thought that coarsely ground walnuts would be a nice addition, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it. Let us know if you come up with a good variant on this concept. Cheers.
- 2 cups green beans, trimmed as desired (filet beans preferable)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. garlic, minced
- 1Tbs. shallot, minced
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ brown sugar
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup Gorgonzola or blue cheese
- In small saucepan, heat oil, garlic and shallots over medium high heat until fragrant.
- Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, basil, and bring to a boil. Reduce to one-half volume.
- Reduce heat, add cheese and stir until combined/melted.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil and blanch beans for about 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked but firm. Drain and cool beans to stop cooking process.
- Plate beans and cover with dressing. Garnish with almond slivers, if desired.