Monday, July 18, 2011

Szechuan Beans

On my Saturday morning trip to the farmer's market, Micah and I found some GORGEOUS green beans. I bought a pound, along with some Italian garlic, and headed home to put up some spicy Szechuan Beans. These are basically pickled and are delicious over rice with a little bit of their pickling liquid, or even on their own as a side dish to your meal. This recipe is from Put 'em Up, by Sherri Brooks Vinton.

Szechuan Beans

1 lb green beans, washed, topped and tailed
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs dark sesame oil
1 tbs whole peppercorns
1 (1 inch) knob ginger, sliced into coins
2 garlic cloves, sliced

1. Line several baking sheets with dish towels and set aside. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl or clean sink.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans into the water, no more than 1 lb. at a time, and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute.

3. Scoop out the beans with a spider or slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Remove the beans from the ice bath and spread on the towel-covered baking sheets. Blot dry.

4. To make pickles, pack the beans vertically into a quart jar.

5. Combine the vinegar, water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, peppercorns, ginger, and garlic in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot brine over the beans to cover by 1/2 inch. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.

6. Refrigerate: Cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

**My liquid didn't quite cover the beans - in hindsight, I should have cut them shorter, but for this batch, every morning I go into the fridge and shake the jar back and forth to make sure everyone gets a nice pickled bath.

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