Mar 15, 2008

Roasted Green Beans with Goat Cheese and Olives

I often find Cook's Illustrated, and it's companion TV show America's Test Kitchen, a bit too scientific. I'm not completely comfortable that they are busily picking apart recipes, altering them by fractions of measurements at times, and then declaring they have the best way to prepare food. Who says? Their testers and tasters, all in their lab coats? (Which is what their jackets look like). Obviously, Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen are bursting at the seems with culinary education and experience. But it's not the casusal and accessible philosophy I look for in preparing food. Trial and error are certainly part of cooking, part of life. But cooking (and life) shouldn't be done in a test facility. Make your food, eat your food, like it or don't like it, then try again - and again, and again. Or don't. Would it kill you to not measure so much and to experiment creatively?

I do, however, take inspiration for cooking from many sources, Cook's Illustrated included. So it was with a roasted green bean recipe. Of course, I altered the idea but only slightly (not a huge sun-dried tomato fan but I might try that variation one day). Bottom line, we could have done without the olives and dressing. It detracted from the roasted flavor which was, I thought, the point of roasting the beans. Next time, just roast and eat. Possibly some crumbled goat cheese because it's hard to resist goat cheese on anything.

1 lb. green beans, heads and tails snapped off
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
2 tsp minced, fresh oregano (I used dried because that's what I had)
2 ounces goat cheese (a variety you can crumble)

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Put an oven rack in the middle slot. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. This makes clean-up a breeze! In a bowl, toss the green beans with 1 tablespoon of olive oil then spread them out on the baking sheet, distributing them evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. Then take out the baking sheet, redistribute the beans with a pair of tongs, and continue roasting for 10-12 minutes.

In the meantime, combine the teaspoon of olive oil with the lemon juice, olives, roasted red pepper, and oregano. Add the beans and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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