Spicy, Blistered Green Beans with Sizzling Garlic and Capers
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The recipe is a spin on the Sichuan “dry-fried” preparation for string beans. Dry-frying, if you are unfamiliar, is a complete misnomer — classic recipes call for blanching beans in heaps of oil, making the technique more similar to deep frying than anything else.
BA‘s recipe pares the oil way back and calls for finishing the beans with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and capers (as opposed to the more traditional shallots, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, and ginger). The minimal ingredient list coupled with the enticing photo of the shriveled, glistening beans strewn with golden slivers of garlic had me longing for summer.
When the first green beans arrived in our CSA, I immediately pulled up this recipe but, for whatever reason, took a different path: instead of cooking the beans in oil stovetop, I broiled them; and while the beans cooked, I infused a few tablespoons of oil in a small skillet with the same aromatics as BA: garlic, capers, and crushed red pepper flakes.
In just about 5 minutes, when the green beans looked blistered to my liking, I piled them on a platter and poured the spicy, garlicky oil overtop. No joke: I ate the entire pound of green beans standing at the counter hovered over the platter.
Friends! These beans are so good and simple to prepare, too. The hardest part is slicing the 6 cloves of garlic thinly, which, if you are brave, you can do with a mandoline. And if you start the oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and capers in a cold pan, you’ll ensure you won’t burn the garlic. Just be patient: there’s a fine line between garlic that’s crispy and caramelized and burnt and bitter.
That’s it! I hope you give it a go. The method has me wondering if it might work with broiled asparagus? broccoli? cauliflower? peppers? I can’t imagine a charred vegetable that wouldn’t welcome a sizzle of salty, fragrant, fiery oil.
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*FYI, always a great read!