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Tasty Morsels: These green beans will have you toasting the roasting

By: Susie Iventosch
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You may think I have green beans on the mind lately, and it’s true — I do! One reason is because they are really pretty easy to prepare (you just need a willing pair of hands to snip off the ends), and another is that the beans in the markets are just beautiful right now. I was in the Nugget Market in Roseville just after Christmas and a big, huge mountain of beans caught my attention. Originally, I was going to purchase a bag of microwaveable beans, but when I saw these at 99 cents a pound, I instantly changed my mind and bought nearly six pounds of them! The beans in the market right now are coming in from Mexico and they are amazing. When it comes to green beans, I never string them. The process takes so much time and I have almost always found it unnecessary. Just snip off the ends and clean them, and before you know it, you’re ready to roll. This recipe is wonderful hot just out of the oven, at room temperature, or even left over and cold the next day for lunch. There are two really important ingredients to this recipe and those are a very good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt. I’ve actually been experimenting with the Himalayan pink salt, too, and it is absolutely wonderful. There is a plethora of great quality olive oils to choose from, many locally produced, too. I picked up a bottle of the Oroville-produced California Olive Ranch Arbequina extra-virgin olive oil the other day, and have used nearly the whole bottle already. Well what’s to be expected with so many beans? Another favorite of mine is the Bariani extra-virgin olive oil. Most local markets carry a nice selection of olive oils and Newcastle Produce has a really wonderful selection, including the two just mentioned. So, find yourself a willing bean trimmer and roll up your sleeves, because you’re going to have to coat the shallots, walnuts and beans in olive oil and sea salt before roasting them. After that — it’s just yum, yum, yum! Roasted Green Beans with Shallots and Walnuts Ingredients 2-3 pounds green beans, ends snipped 1 cup walnut halves 12-14 shallots, peeled and quartered 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1-2 teaspoons sea salt, depending on desired saltiness Black pepper to taste Dash cayenne pepper (for walnuts) ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese — optional Directions Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, toss walnuts with 1-2 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil, ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt and dash of cayenne pepper. Roast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly browned and oil is absorbed. Remove from oven, cool and set aside. These can be prepared several days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Clean and prepare shallots and green beans. In medium-large bowl, toss shallots with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¾ teaspoon salt. Place in a large baking dish, or baking sheet, that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Don’t wash the bowl, because you’ll be reusing it. Cook shallots for about 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to get crunchy and browned. Meanwhile, toss beans with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and when shallots have been pre-cooked, place beans on top and toss with shallots. Continue to cook at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until beans just begin to brown, but are still al dente. Place walnuts on top and continue to cook for another three to four minutes. Serve hot, warm or cool, and as an option, sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Susie can be reached at suziven@gmail.com.