Plain, steamed vegetables do not taste good.
I recently ordered sauteed spinach at a restaurant, with no butter, please. Guess what they brought me: steamed spinach without a hint of oil, seasonings or flavors of any kind. Guess how it tasted: absolutely terrible!
Note: In my experience, the chef at any decent restaurant will know how to prepare flavorful vegetables without butter. But just in case, I often clarify with the server that I can have oil and seasonings.
At home, of course, it’s much easier to cook up flavorful veggies.
I love Nina Planck’s straightforward “dress it up nicely” protocol: Every vegetable should be properly dressed, and to me that means the right fat, a little salt, and perhaps one flavor, such as fresh herbs or good cheese. [Real Food, p.159]
I try to keep her rule of thumb in mind, keeping my vegetable preparation as simple as possible and using quality fats and good sea salt.
One of our favorite vegetable + fat + salt combinations is as follows…
Sauteed Green Beans With Bacon
- Bacon drippings
- Green beans
- Unrefined Sea Salt
- Cook bacon, reserving the drippings in a bowl. (This step can be done ahead of time).
- Heat skillet and add bacon drippings.
- Add green beans and saute until you consider them “done.”
- At the very end, crumble (or snip with kitchen shears) a few pieces of bacon over the beans and mix to combine.
- Season with salt, to taste.
- I love to use Wegmans Cleaned & Cut French Green Beans (in the produce section). Yes, I realize they’re not organic, nor do they come from a local farm, but they work for me.
- Cooking the full bag of green beans (pictured above) requires two batches, or two skillets going at the same time. Or perhaps one giant skillet!
- Instead of bacon drippings, you could use lard or sausage drippings. (And instead of crumbling bacon over the beans, you could crumble sausage. I’ve done this and it’s good!).
- We almost always have bacon or sausage in the house, for breakfast purposes. So whenever I cook those breakfast meats, I reserve the drippings for future use. Just this morning I fried up some eggs in bacon drippings!
- A few tips for saving bacon or sausage drippings (in case you’ve never done it before):
- Wait for the drippings to cool slightly, to reduce your risk of getting burned.
- Pour them into a bowl. As they cool, they’ll solidify and turn white, resembling lard.
- Save in the fridge.
- When needed, scoop out with a spoon.
- Obviously, you could use raw bacon or sausage, adding it to the skillet early enough to cook along with the beans.
Other recipes you might like: