Green beans often appear in a variety of delicious preparations throughout the year: Creamy green bean casserole, steamed with toasted almonds, roasted with bacon and onion, or tossed in basil pesto pasta. But during the late summer harvest when entangled, bright green piles of skinny, pole-shaped beans are presented with their colorful cousins at the market -- yellow wax beans, romanos, and purple beans -- their seasonal beauty begs for a new twist on our old, go-to recipes.
Thanks to inspiration from Portland cookbook author, Martha Holmberg, I've found the craveworthy answer in grilled green beans. The simple act of grilling can transform a green bean into something wonderfully new. It takes a bit of patience. The beans must collapse and develop a dark char, but I guarantee they will turn your dinner guests into green bean fiends. I've used Pollen Ranch's fennel pollen blend, Big Devil, to give the green beans a burst of spicy, zesty heat. The pungent seasoning is a bold addition to tangy Dijon and herbaceous green beans.
I've grilled green beans nearly every week this summer and I know these beans will disappear from the platter all on their own, but they are excellent served with a dipping sauce. Try blending mayonnaise with the following combinations:
- anchovy fillets, mustard, garlic, capers, and olive oil (pictured)
- horseradish, stone ground mustard, and caraway seed
- worcestershire, soy sauce, hot sauce
- roasted red pepper, paprika, and sherry vinegar
Grilled Green Beans
1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Big Devil fennel pollen blend
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Add a single layer of green beans across grate. Turn beans ocassionally, charring on all sides. Cook until green beans have dark grill marks and starting to collapse. Serve immediately.
Caroline Ford is a food stylist, writer & recipe developer in Portland, OR. More of her writing can be found on her blog: Food. Write. Style.