You will either love me or hate me for this.

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Canned green beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and Durkee fried onions. This is the making of a classic green bean casserole. If you have glowing, fond memories of this dish you should probably stop reading now. Trust me, it’s for the best.

If you are still here, you probably think that green bean casserole has some room to improve. That’s exactly what I thought as I looked at the beautiful, crisp, sweet green beans that Marvin Ogburn, of Long Meadow Farm, had brought to Eastern Market. Replace the canned green beans with fresh. Blanching the green beans means they only spend about three minutes in the sauté pan, keeping them bright and crisp. Wild mushrooms cooked in butter and splashed with brandy offer a far richer flavor than any can of soup. Sautéed shallots give you oniony flavor while herbed Panko satisfies the desire for a crisp crunch.

Fifteen minutes of cooking time makes this fast enough for any weeknight dinner. However, you may discover that the simple, fresh flavor is a nice break from the heavy, starchy dishes on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, sliced thin
  • brandy or white wine
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tbs chopped thyme

Directions:

  • Blanch the green beans*.
  • Heat oil in a 12” sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened. 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant. 1 minute.
  • Add mushrooms and sauté until cooked. About 7 minutes.
  • Add a splash of wine or brandy and cook 1 minute until reduced.
  • Toss green beans and warm through until crisp tender.
  • Melt butter in small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add herbs and cook for one minute. Add Panko and Cook until golden brown.
  • Serve beans topped with herbed Panko.

* To blanch the green beans, boil a large stock pot of water. Add 2-3 tablespoons salt and return to a boil. Add beans and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and still crisp. Remove from water and submerge in an ice bath – a large bowl filled with water and ice cubes. This immediately stops the beans cooking. When cold, drain and dry.

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