green beans & peppers with crispy sage & garlic

This is the quickest & easiest way to prep a whack of green beans – heat a pan, swirl in the EVOO, throw in the beans and a hefty splash of H2O (broth is best), and when the liquid is gone, mince in a clove or 2 of garlic, a little S&P, a shot of balsamic vinegar and your beans are ready for their close-up. They should still be crispish – crispish? You know, slightly crispy.

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That’s the basic method to which you can add whatever moves you – I dolled them up with a little julienned red pepper and crispy fresh sage leaves but feel free to doll them up anyway you like – thinly sliced red onion or scallions would take you there, as would grated zucchini or fried proscuitto, or how about more ways than we can both possibly think of – let’s start with 75!

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So save the cloying sauces for somewhere else, and find out what a green bean (and other garden sidekicks) are really supposed to taste like. And just to tease you a little, imagine green bean pesto – yes, pesto made out of green beans. Too bad this little girl’s mother didn’t get out the food processor, some garlic, nuts and olive oil – ’cause when it comes to green beans, what you don’t know couldn’t possibly hurt you! I’ll get on that green bean pesto soon, but in the meantime – lose your ever-lovin’ green bean mind!

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1. Get your beans and pepper(s) rinsed and ready to prep.

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2. This sage bush is alive & well, and living outside my kitchen door. I’m going to share a trick that every Italian mama’s been doing with her fresh sage for centuries – she fries it up and sprinkles it wherever she pleases. And FYI – sage is very easy to grow, is a perennial for those of us in the right zone and for those of us not, grow it indoors, so we can all have fresh sage, alive & well, and living outside (or inside) our kitchen doors!

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3. Get the rest of the ingredients together.

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4. Mix up the saucy stuff and set aside.

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5. Simply trim the stem end – I never trim the tip and set aside.

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6. Julienne the red pepper (the shape matches the green beans) – slice or mince the garlic and turn your attention to the sage.

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7. Pick the leaves off the stem, right at the base of the leaf, give them a rinse and pat dry.

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8. Stack them on top of each other.

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9. And run your knife through the leaves to make thin strips, aka chiffonade.

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10. You’ll have a pile of feathery strips.

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11. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, swirl with olive oil and add the sage.

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12. Continue sautéing until shrivelled and crisp.

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13. This would be shrivelled …

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14. And this would be crisp – set the sage aside while you get the beans & peppers cooking.

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15. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil, add the beans, garlic & stock.

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16. Continue cooking until the garlic softens and the beans get going.

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17. Add the red pepper.

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18. Add the sauce.

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19. Stir it all around to coat completely and take it off the heat.

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20. Transfer the beans to a serving dish and sprinkle with the crispy sage – talk about under the Tuscan sun!

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21. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt and dig in!

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