In my last post I shared my foolproof method (courtesy of Sally Schneider on the Splendid Table) for making an herb finishing salt that’s guaranteed to make you everyone’s favorite gift-bearing party guest this holiday season. In this post, I describe one way that I use that herb finishing salt all through the year.
My favorite use is to sprinkle it on vegetables just before I serve them. Green beans are a great choice. I trim and wash the green beans and then steam them for no more than five minutes. This brings out their full flavor and ensures they stay crisp. (I find that steaming them for more than five minutes makes them too soft for my taste.)
Steaming is also a great way to preserve certain nutrients in the green beans. Green beans are good sources of vitamin C and several B vitamins, which can leach into any water the beans come into contact with or be destroyed through prolonged exposure to heat. Because green beans that are steamed are cooked quickly without actual contact with water, they tend to retain more of these nutrients.
After steaming the green beans, I toss them in some extra virgin olive oil. (If the beans have cooled, I heat the extra virgin olive oil very gently on the stove before adding the beans.) The fat in the olive oil is important for several reasons. It aids in the body’s absorption of several other nutrients in the green beans, including vitamin K and a number of inflammation-fighting antioxidants. The fat itself is a monounsaturated fat (a healthy dietary fat) that contains its own abundance of antioxidants.
But the most important reason for adding some extra virgin olive oil to the green beans? It tastes delicious!
Last but not least, I add the herb finishing salt by tossing the green beans with a few pinches of so that flecks of salt and herbs coat more each green bean. The result is a perfect synergy of look, taste, and health.
Green Beans with Herb Finishing Salt
- 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Herb Finishing Salt
- Add about 1 inch of water to a lidded pan and then insert either a perforated steamer insert or steamer basket. The bottom of the insert or basket should be above the water. If not, pour some of the water out.
- Bring the water to a boil. When you start seeing steam rising from the pan, add the green beans to the insert or basket and place the lid on the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the green beans to steam for up to five minutes.
- When the green beans have finished steaming, remove them from the heat and tip them into a bowl or saucepan. Toss the still warm green beans with the extra virgin olive oil.
- Sprinkle the Herb Finishing Salt evenly over the top of the coated green beans. Toss to combine. Serve while warm.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the green beans through step 2 up to a week ahead. After the beans have finished steaming, place them in a colander under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Shake them dry and place them in a storage container or Ziploc plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use them, gently heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Transfer the beans to the pan and toss until the oil lightly coats the beans and they have become warm. Finish with step 4.