This is my favorite way to cook green beans and a good illustration of my cooking philosophy – fresh ingredients, simple preparations, clean flavors. I also have a feta fetish. I just love this combination of crisp green beans with soft salty feta and sweet drops of balsamic vinegar.
Start with fresh snappy green beans.
Add to hot pan with a slick of olive oil (get ready for water popping firecracker sounds).
Give beans a few quick turns to distribute oil (or shake pan; cast iron too heavy for that method).
Cover – this will allow the water to cook off without splattering your whole stovetop and also trap vapor in the pan to add steam to the cooking. Turn down heat.
When popping sounds subside, uncover and turn beans again. They should have a nice coat of olive oil and be turning bright green.
Add a bit of water to pan and cover again. In a minute, take cover off, turn and taste. Repeat you have particularly thick beans or if you prefer a more tender bite. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove to platter. Resist the temptation to eat them all as is (though they are delicious).
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – though I’m using my balsamic vinaigrette in the picture. I make a jar at a time and keep in the fridge, and you can see it’s still a bit chunky from the cold hardened olive oil. I wrote the recipe for oilve oil and balsamic vinegar, which is how I always made it until I started to make vinaigrette in batches (I’m also a salad fanatic). This recipe uses so little vinaigrette it isn’t worth the time to mix it just for the green beans, but I’ll post the recipe soon because it is so easy to make and useful to have on hand.
Top with crumbled feta. Halved grape tomatoes are also delicious and pretty on top with the feta. This dish is great hot or room temperature if you want to make it ahead.
Green beans with feta and balsamic vinegar
I never get tired of this combination of fresh snappy green beans with soft salty feta and sweet tangy balsamic vinegar.
- Green beans
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Feta cheese
- Snap ends off green beans. Wash and let dry in colander.
- Heat a skillet large enough to hold the beans comfortably (or cook in batches). Add olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan.
- Add green beans to skillet. Be prepared for a lot of noise, as water from the green beans will pop in the oil.
- Use long tongs to give the green beans a quick turn in the skillet before covering the pan (this will allow the water to cook off without splattering your whole stovetop and also trap vapor in the pan to add steam to the cooking). You can also turn the beans by shaking the skillet, but I use cast iron, which is too heavy for this method.
- Turn the temperature down to medium low.
- When the popping has subsided, take the cover off and turn the beans again. They should have a nice coat of olive oil and be turning bright green.
- Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar for steam release. If the water doesnâ€™t sizzle as soon as you pour it in, raise the heat a bit. This will give an additional steam cook for the beans. The amount of water and time of cooking now depends on the thickness of the beans and how well you like them cooked (though cooking much longer than crisp-tender will result in a duller color).
- In a minute, take the cover off, turn the beans and taste one. If it is done to your liking but there is still water in the pan, raise the heat to cook the water out quickly, turning the beans to release the steam. Otherwise, cover and cook another minute. Add a bit more water and repeat if required.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Turn beans over with tongs to distribute evenly.
- Remove beans to platter.
- Drizzle with olive oil and a spoonful or two of balsamic vinegar, to taste.
- Sprinkle with crumbled feta.
- Serve hot or make ahead and serve at room temperature.
Here’s a link to print the recipe: