Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sichuan Green Beans

This week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

Sweetwater Farm has a lovely selection of beans including these yardlong beans, which always get a giggle out of my kids when served full length. I like to blanch them, save some in their full splendor, and chop the rest to stir fry in Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichan green beans from Every Grain of Rice. This recipe involves a secret ingredient of Tianjin preserved vegetables, available at Sunrise Market, which add a salty pungency. And with so many pretty spicy peppers at the market, I substituted fresh for dried. Blanching the beans first, as Dunlop does in this version of her recipe, means that they require less oil so that the dish tastes fresh and not too greasy. A great side dish to have in your repertoire, and a great reason to stock up on fall beans.

Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

3/4 pound green beans or yard long beans
4-6 dried chiles
2 scallions, whites only, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
An equivalent amount of ginger, sliced
2 tablespoons Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable (optional but recommended; see note above)
1/2 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

1. Trim beans; snap them in half. Then snip the chiles in half and shake out and discard the seeds. If you're using the Tianjin preserved vegetable, rinse off the excess salt and squeeze it dry. 

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and blanch until just tender, then drain. 

3. Put your wok over high heat. Add the canola or peanut oil, then the chiles and the Sichuan pepper. Stir-fry just until the chiles begin to darken, then add the scallion, ginger, and garlic and cook for a few moments more. Add the preserved vegetable and stir a few more times. Then add the beans and stir-fry for a minute or two longer, until coated in the oil and the seasonings. Add salt to taste. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

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