This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and her quote below points out one very important feature for easy entertaining in my opinion - the ability to do at least a portion of the dish in advance. It's the difference between actually enjoying your event vs slaving your way through it.
"I blanch the green beans and make the gremolata in advance, storing them separately in the refrigerator. Then, just before dinner, I'll reheat the beans and toss on the gremolata." —Ina Garten
With that said, I also like this side dish because it's great hot, cold or room temp. The gremolata would be just as tasty on other veggies like - broccoli, roasted cauliflower or potatoes, and you can change up the other ingredients - orange zest in place of lemon, rosemary instead of parsley or almonds instead of pine nuts.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 pound French green beans (haricots verts), trimmed
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 2 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 3 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2½ Tbsp. good olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain beans in a colander and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.
Place pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Set aside.
To make gremolata, toss garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts together in a small bowl and set aside.
When ready to serve, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain beans and pat dry. Add beans to skillet and sauté, turning frequently, 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through. Remove from heat, add gremolata, and toss well. Sprinkle with ¾ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper to taste and serve hot.