On Thanksgiving, we tend to fuss over green beans far more than usual, coating them in creamy mushroom sauces and basting them in butter. A dish that, most of the year, is relegated to a second-though side becomes one of the classics, with all the pomp and strong opinions that position implies.
At my family Thanksgiving, however, green bean preparation has never been a question; we only cook them one incredibly easy way—it takes only 5 minutes and the whole thing is done in advance. And still, they're some of the first things to disappear off our holiday table, year after year.
The secret is in one not-so-secret ingredient: frizzled shallots. They're like the crispy fried onions that come in a can, but about a million times better—and it doesn't take that much longer to make them than it does to fuss with the metal, peel-away covering.
The recipe (if you can even call it that) is this: Heat about a half-inch of neutral-tasting oil (we use canola) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, slice shallots as thinly as you can—feel free to employ a mandolin if you have one—and pat them dry on a paper towel so they'll fry up super crisp. Throw a test shallot piece into the oil; if it starts bubbling and floats to the top, it's ready. Fry your shallots in batches, transferring them onto a paper towel-lined plate when they turn a deep brown. Pat off the excess oil, and reserve. I generally use about two to three whole shallots per pound of green beans, but feel free to adjust to your taste.
Since, let's be honest, the frizzled shallots are the star of the show, I like to keep the green beans simple. Feel free to blanch them for a minute or two in boiling water and shock them in an ice bath before cooking, but I usually just snap off the ends and toss them into the same saucepan in which I cooked the shallots (after pouring out most of the oil), adding a pat of butter if I feel so inclined. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the beans are tender, yet still have a crunch.
Transfer the green beans onto a platter, taste for seasoning, and sprinkle generously with your frizzled shallots. Over-the-top delicious green beans, simplified.
What's your go-to Thanksgiving green beans preparation? Share your favorites in the comments!