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Green Beans with Shallots, Lemon & Thyme



If you are ever looking for a really delicious side dish for a dinner party, or even on a night when you just want to pull out the stops a little bit, or a holiday meal, this tasty dish ticks all the boxes!


Green beans and thyme have a natural affinity for one another.  Its like they were meant to be put together!


Likewise shallots . . . with their mild garlic tones . . . also a perfect partner with both green beans and thyme . . .


Throw in some lemon zest, and you have something very special indeed.  It highlights all the flavours perfectly!  You could also use lemon thyme and leave the lemon zest out altogether, but I have never been able to buy lemon thyme fresh  . . .  I have grown it in the garden, but someone who shall not be named pulls up my thyme every single year in the autumn, thinking it is a dead plant.  Ahem . . . 



Parmesan cheese also goes really well with this delicious combination of flavours!!  Just a light grating, not a drowing of course . . .  all things in moderation.


I could eat a whole plate of these beans and nothing else.  They are really that good!  Such a simple thing  and yet at the same time almost gourmet!


*Green Beans with Lemon, Shallots & Thyme*
Serves 4
 
Tender crisp beans flavoured with a mixture of buttery lemon, shallots and fresh thyme. 

1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned, and trimmed
2 TBS butter
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
salt and black pepper to taste 
 

Have a bowl of ice water waiting.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil.  Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes until crispy tender.  Drain well and plunge into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well again. 

Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots have softened without browning, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until very fragrant.  Tip in the lemon juice and thyme.  Cook for a further minute, then return the beans to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, parmesan and season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Serve immediately.



I love the fresh green colour of beans.  Of course they are at their best earlier in the summer when you can grow your own.  This week however they had them on special at the shops, at three packs for £2.  I couldn't resist them, even if they were grown in Kenya.  Any leftovers can be reheated gently the next day, but do bear in mind that they will lose some of their colour due to the lemon juice used in the recipe.  If you want to keep the really fresh green colour you want to serve these soon after cooking.  Bon appetit!
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Marie Rayner
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