Spicy-Sweet Green Beans
1 pound green beans
½ cup whole almonds
3 garlic cloves
1 or 2 dried hot chiles, or to taste (try substituting with a jalapeño!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots (try substituting with sweet onion)
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the beans and cook until crisptender, about 2 minutes, depending on the size of the beans. Shock the beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and drain again (this can be done up to day ahead of time).
2. Put the almonds, garlic, and chilies in a food processor and process; while the machine is running, add a tablespoon or 2 of the oil to get the mixture moving. Continue to process until you have a thick paste.
3. Put the remaining olive oil in a large skillet and cook the shallots over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the almond paste and continue cooking for another couple of minutes, then add the honey and soy sauce. Cook for another minute or 2 over high heat, stirring constantly, before adding the green beans. Toss to coat the beans well in the almond-shallot mixture and cook until the beans are warmed through; if the paste becomes too thick, add a tablespoon or 2 of water to thin it out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves 4 to 8.
Recipe adapted from The Food Matters Cook Book by Mark Bittman.