Al dente fresh green beans with toasted hazelnuts in brown butter with flecks of creamy goat cheese.
Course: Side Dish, Vegetable
Author: Kayla Purcell
3cupgreen beans, stem ends trimmed
Freshly ground pepper
2/3cupchèvre , crumbled for garnish
You’ll begin by toasting and skinning the hazelnuts. Spread the hazelnuts out on a pan evenly and bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes on the middle rack. The skins should begin to blister and the nuts should have a slightly darker color to them. Keep a close eye on them because you don’t want to burn the nuts! (While the nuts roast, trim the green beans and start the water.)
Once you pull the hazelnuts out of the oven, wrap them up in a kitchen towel for about a minute. This will slightly steam them and loosen the skins. Rub them all together inside the towel and discard the loose skins. Don’t worry if some skins stay on. Essentially you just want to get rid of the majority so they don’t get stuck in your teeth! Coarsely crush up the nuts and set aside.
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil with about 2 tablespoons salt, or enough water to cover the beans. Once the water boils, throw the beans in and boil for 3-4 minutes. Test one of the beans for tenderness and preferred doneness. I tend to boil for the shortest period of time because I like crunchy beans, and you don’t want to overcook them because you’ll lose that delicious snap. Strain out the water and set aside.
Brown butter is simple but delicate. Using a medium sized skillet, put 3 tbsp of butter in the pan over medium heat. The butter will melt and start to bubble as it rises in temperature.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add the crushed hazelnuts and cook in butter until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. You’re looking for a sweet spot of golden brown butter. Remove from direct heat.
Transfer the green beans to the pan with the butter and hazelnuts to get everything to serving temperature while stirring to coat the beans. Salt and pepper to taste, mix it up. Place into a serving bowl and garnish with a fair amount of chèvre. Enjoy thoroughly.
Ricotta is a nice substitute for the goat cheese though a more mellow cheese option with a similar texture. Cotija and feta also sub in well.
Make crispy shallots to garnish it up! Slice shallots very thin and fry them up in coconut oil until golden brown. Transfer to drain on a paper towel to crisp up and garnish along with the chèvre.
If you don’t have hazelnuts lying around, pecans, walnuts, cashews or almonds all work just as well. It's just that hazelnuts are particularly delightful in this dish and not as common.
Make this dairy-free with a few changes. I recommend coconut oil as a tasty alternative, but it cannot be browned since it doesn’t contain the same milk solids that butter does. Coconut oil will, however, take on the hazelnut flavor just as well, and if you want to go full vegan, use the crispy shallots or cashew cheese instead of dairy cheese.