Harvest is my favorite season of the year - it's when you finally see the labors of the summer pay off. These tasty green beans look like spaghetti and are sometimes called snake beans, spaghetti beans, yard long beans or Chinese long beans. This unique bean, grows rapidly and can get up to 3-feet or longer. If you don't grow your own you can often find them in farmers markets, some grocery store chains and smaller speciality stores (Liberty Heights, Sprouts). Because it is a popular ingredient in Asian gardens it is very common in Chinese markets. Watch Becky make this recipe on Studio 5.
Yields: 6-8 Servings
1 pound fresh Chinese long beans*
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-3 teaspoons garlic chili sauce, optional**
2 cups cherry tomatoes halves
½ teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
½ cup crumbled cheese (feta, fresh mozzarella, queso fresco)
Wash beans and trim ends. Leave whole or cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in salted boiling water, blanch 2 minutes. Drain well.
While beans are cooking. Use a large skillet or wok over medium, heat oil, garlic and optional chili sauce until sizzling and fragrant (about 30-60 seconds); add tomato halves, season to taste with salt; cover with a lid and cook until tomatoes break down (about 5-10 minutes). Spoon tomatoes into a side dish, leaving juice in bottom of pan; add beans to the pan. Cover and cook until moisture has evaporated and beans are lightly browned.
Place beans on serving plate, spoon tomatoes over top, season with fresh cracked black pepper, top with crumbled cheese.
*Alternate 1-pan Cooking Method:
Do not blanch beans. Using a large skillet or wok heat oil, garlic and optional chili sauce over medium heat, until garlic sizzles and is fragrant. Add trimmed and washed beans and 1-tablespoon water, stir fry to slightly brown beans (as needed, add additional 1-tablespoon water to prevent burning). Add tomatoes and salt; cover and continue to cook until tomatoes break down and beans are tender, stirring as needed. Serve as directed above.
* Called Chinese Long Beans, Spaghetti Green Beans, Yard Long Beans. May substitute string beans.
Test Your Green Thumb
My choice of recipes for today started last winter, while the snow was still on the ground, when you browse the seed catalog longing for warmer weather, and dream of next summers bumper crop. I found a picture in a foodie magazine for spaghetti green beans. Fascinated, I searched Burpee catalog and ordered my seeds. I have to admit I was disappointed at first and thought my beans were a failure. I usually plant my pole beans against a fence and love how it makes a hedge of green. The spaghetti bean does not fill in the same as a Blue Lake Pole bean, I could not see blossoms, and so basically ignored them. One day I thought a vine was on the ground and started to pick it up to put it in its place and realized it was my yard long bean - and there was more growing everywhere! They look kinda like the vines, without leaves.