Apologies to Ina Garten

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I feel like I owe Ina Garten an apology: For years I didn't think much of her or her cookbooks, but now I think I was mistaken in my prejudice towards the Barefoot Contessa. I'd only ever cooked one of her recipes once, and the one I tried was imprecise in a way that I found frustrating. I felt like her cookbooks were pretty picture books not useful, interesting tools for cooks. Then, a copy of her latest book, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof landed on my desk at work, and I found myself flagging many recipes as ones I wanted to try myself. I followed her turkey instructions at Thanksgiving to much success and last night I test-drove two more dishes were from the book. With three successes, I have officially changed my tune about Ina Garten.

These green beans and a Provencal Tomato Gratin were both simple, delicious recipes I will make again and again. (Note to Costco shoppers: Double the green bean recipe and use a big bag of Costco's French green beans, and use their large container of cherry tomatoes for the tomato gratin.) I followed Garten's suggestion blanch the green beans and make the gremolata in advance and store them separately in the refrigerator. Before dinner, I reheated the beans and tossed them with the gremolata.

So, Ina, for what it's worth: I'm sorry. I hope to spend more time with your recipes and get to know you better.

Green Beans Gremolata
From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

1 pound French green beans (haricots verts), trimmed
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
3 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2½ Tbsp. good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain beans in a colander and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.
2. Place pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Set aside.
3. To make gremolata, toss garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts together in a small bowl and set aside.
4. When ready to serve, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain beans and pat dry. Add beans to skillet and sauté, turning frequently, 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through. Remove from heat, add gremolata, and toss well. Sprinkle with ¾ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper to taste and serve hot.


Tim Fenton said...

Nice new "about me" photo. By Weston? Love your smile darlin'.

Laura Fenton said...

Of course it's by Weston! Glad you like it.

loves food, loves to cook... said...

I made the green beans Gremolata for Thanksgiving last year, and used all fresh ingredients, including Parmesano Reggiano freshly grated...I notice that Pure Wow referred to them having "slivered almonds", but they are made with Pine Nuts, which I like even better!! Good to try for a dinner party...not too heavy and will go with any entree!!!


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