No one likes a limp, mushy green bean. In fact, memories of being coerced to eat soft corn-carrot-green bean medleys may be the reason some people dislike the veggies to begin with. But if cooked correctly, these veggies can be the ultimate tasty side dish -- you just have to know a few tips to turn them from mushy to the perfect balance of tender and crunchy.
If you buy these vegetables fresh at the grocery store, try freezing them before cooking them. We know it sounds counter-intuitive (after all, fresh is often thought to be better than frozen), but adding in this step can do wonders for your green beans' texture. As chefs Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa discovered and explained in their book, "Ideas in Food," freezing the veggies works in a very similar way to blanching, except you don't have to fire up the stove or make an ice bath. The ice crystals that form help to break down the green beans' rigid structure, much like how blanching can slightly soften produce. So when you ultimately defrost and cook them, you'll get tender vegetables that still have a good bite to them.
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How To Freeze And Cook Your Green Beans
If you want to try this technique (which Talbot and Kamozawa call cryo-blanching), you'll need to do a little more than just stick a bag of green beans in the freezer. The idea here is to freeze them quickly so you get smaller ice crystals that soften the veggies without making them mushy. So instead of packing tons of green beans in a single bag, you'll want to spread them out on a baking tray, making sure they don't overlap. After they've frozen, transfer them to a plastic bag, squeeze all the air out, and pop them back in the freezer until you're ready to cook.
Many frozen green bean recipes will tell you to cook the veggies without thawing them first, but this version can go two ways. Typically, these recipes assume they were blanched ahead of time, and in this case, we replaced that step with cryo-blanching. You can thaw them for about half an hour before sauteing, but feel free to also place them directly on a baking sheet and roast them. Before cooking, simply coat the vegetables with olive oil and toss them in seasonings. If you're throwing frozen green beans straight in the oven, you'll want to expose them to high temperatures like 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so the water can evaporate and they can get nice and crispy. Either way, cryo-blanching instead of regular blanching can seriously help you up your green bean game.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.