Here they are: our favourite beans. We could eat these beans for breakfast, lunch and supper and we would never tire of them: that is, pretty much, the universal household sentiment.
We discovered the method of making the magic beans in (of all places) Norway, generally not thought of in connection with green vegetables. We were there, lounging round a fjord, a couple of summers ago, and my friend Linda — a brilliant percussionist, do have a look here — cooked up a pan of these babies and we gobbled ’em up. (Come to think of it, we were there to make a show of stories, so I guess it’s perfectly appropriate that I found these magic beans.) Anyway — you will never look back. You won’t steam or boil, and you won’t have to argue your youngsters into eating them. Ready, set, go!
Fine beans, green beans, whatever you call them, a nice big bunch
1 tbsp sunflower or other neutral oil
1 tbsp good soy sauce
optional: finely chopped garlic and/or 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.
First, de-stem the beans, and rinse them in a sieve. Don’t dry them: you want quite a bit of water clinging to their little green skins.
Put the oil into the wide saute pan and heat until the oil is really, really hot. Have the lid of the pan standing by. Now — drop the rinsed beans into the pan and they will HISSSSSS and WHOOOOSH as that moisture hits the hot oil, and so being careful not to get spattered swiftly CLAMP your pan lid on top and turn the heat down some. Give the beans a shake, so they stir themselves in the pan.
Cook them this way for about ten minutes — maybe more, depending on how soft you like them. Open the lid and stir periodically; when they are nearly as soft as you like pour over the soy sauce and let them brown in that a little. They should be wrinkly and a little scorched-looking: that’s what makes them so yummy. Now’s the time, if you want, to add the garlic and the sesame seeds and stir another moment or two, just till the garlic softens in the hot pan. Delicious either way.