Sunday, July 26, 2009

Green Bean Bliss

I love fresh green beans. I love the way they squeak between my teeth; I love the flavor; I love the color; I love how they can be used as big green fangs to make a 6-year-old crack up.

And now I love them even more because I melded them with my favorite summer flavors, those found in the Vietnamese lime sauce Nuoc Cham. Today I blanched the rest of my Tantre green beans, chopped up a half a cake of firm tofu and tossed it all with the dressing. It was fast, easy, tasty and perfect for a hot, humid day.

Green Bean and Tofu Salad with Nuoc Cham

1.5 quarts green beans
.5 cake of firm tofu, cut into small cubes
juice of 1 lime
2 t brown sugar
1 small clove of garlic, pressed
1 T soy sauce
1.5 T fish sauce (I like the 3 crabs brand)
.5 of a long serrano chili, chopped fine (or more if you want it hotter)
1/4 C unsalted peanuts, chopped coarsely
at least 2 T each of chopped basil (Thai basil if you have it), spearmint and cilantro

Chuck the beans in a big pot of boiling water and blanch until just tender. Dump in a colander and run cool water over them. Cut into 2 inch lengths.

In your serving bowl combine the lime juice, sugar, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce and chili. Give a stir to dissolve the sugar. It may not look like enough dressing but it is. Then toss in the green beans, tofu, chopped peanuts and chopped herbs. Don't serve immediately--you want the flavors to get absorbed a little into the tofu and beans. Instead, let it sit for about half an hour, tossing every 10 minutes to make sure that the flavors are distributed.


Anonymous said...

AAAAAAA! AAAAAAA!! NOOOOOOOO! Not the feeling of green beans squeaking on my teeth!

*goes off and brushes teeth vigorously*

Sorry 'bout that. Just can't stand that feeling; must cook beans 2 minutes past al dente.

Recipe looks good, though...

Edward Vielmetti said...

Tonight's green beans for us were Italian style (with garlic and tomatoes). I love the fish sauce idea.

We've taken to boiling cubed tofu - it firms up the texture and makes it seem more substantial.

Spencer said...

I forwarded this post to my daughter, since we already had some green beans in the fridge. She responded:

so I lost track of time and have neither time to get missing ingredients nor money... at [friend's] advice, I am making it with rice instead of tofu and ginger instead of chili pepper and no fish sauce [because] it's partially crystallized and therefore suspect...

It was delicious. I had trouble leaving enough for the rest of the family.

Kate said...

I was selfish and ate them all myself :) Of course my critters won't go near anything with fish sauce in it (in their words, stinky feet sauce) so I knew I wouldn't have to share with them!

heh heh heh--sorry to cause such sensory pain to you! There are plenty of other sounds/smells that I freak out at, but squeaky beans isn't one of them.