Summertime and the livin' is easy... I love all the delicious, flavorful veggies and fruits that are dropping off the vine/stalk/tree at this time of year. It makes cooking a joy.
We grow herbs, green beans, tomatoes, cukes and some lettuce and arugula out on our deck. But due to limited space in the container garden, we only get a few green beans a day which I then wash, dry and put in the fridge until I've amassed enough to use. But it still only adds up to a handful or so of the delicious green monsters a week (see photo below.) So I bought some more at the Woodstock Farm Festival yesterday to supplement.
Although I have finally mastered the art of making aioli from scratch (and it is an out-of-this-world treat), I have to admit that I am usually too
lazy busy to do it. Instead, I get great, quick results by just doctoring store-bought mayonnaise. I used a new Hellmann's mayo that includes olive oil for this batch of aioli and it turned out great. They're offering a dollar off the stuff if you want to try it (just click the Coupon tab on that page if you're interested.)
The herbs you use are up to you but basil and dill are great choices to start with if you have either on hand (I used both.)
I love the creamy, garlicky, herb-filled taste you can achieve in just a matter of minutes. My suggestion is not to skimp on the salt!
Take care not to overcook the green beans as you want to blanch them just long enough to make them tender-crisp but not so much that they get limp and bland looking. One of the keys to getting the beans right is having an ice water bath ready to stop the cooking once you remove them from the boiling water - otherwise, they will continue to cook for a number of minutes as they cool down.
Toss it all together and you have a gorgeous summer side that should please everyone as it's both dairy and gluten-free (although it's not vegan due to the eggs in the mayo) which can be a plus if there are people in your life who can't or won't eat dairy/wheat/gluten. Ours accompanied grilled shell steak and a grilled radicchio and herb salad that I hope to post a recipe for very soon.
Green Beans With Quick Lemon Basil Aioli
Serves 4 as a side
For the salad
* 6 cups of fresh green beans, rinsed with the ends trimmed off
* Tray or two of ice cubes and lots of cold water
For the aioli
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup mayonnaise
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (you can use more if you like garlic or less if you're not a fan)
* 3-4 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 3 tsp fresh dill, chopped
* 3 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1. Make the aioli by combining all the sauce ingredients and stirring well. Taste and adjust the flavors as needed. It's okay if it seems a bit salty and garlicky - remember, this is going to provide the sole seasoning for a lot of green beans. You can make the aioli a day in advance if you like - the flavors only improve with a little extra time.
2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Then add the green beans and blanch then until they're just a little bit tender but still bright green - probably just 2-4 minutes (depending on the size and toughness of the beans you're working with.) While they're cooking, prepare a large pot of very cold water mixed with ice cubes so that you'll have it at the ready to put the blanched beans in - this is important so that you can stop the cooking process (otherwise, they'll continue to cook and end up overdone). Once the beans are done, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or by pouring them into a colander, then place them in the ice water bath for 5 minutes to ensure that the cooking stops.
3. Combine the cooled down blanched beans and the sauce, stirring with a large spoon to ensure that everything gets well-coated with the aioli and serve. It's delicious warm or cold and goes well with nearly everything (especially anything grilled.) If it looks like there's too much sauce, save what's leftover in the fridge - it's great with grilled salmon or other fish, steamed potatoes and more.
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Disclaimer: I received a sample of Hellmann's Mayonnaise with Olive Oil to try, and was compensated for my ingredients and time in creating this recipe, but my opinions are 100% my own.