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Green Beans and Zucchini with Sauce Verte

June 3, 2010

by Elizabeth


Cooking during the glorious warm summer months can be ridiculously easy, lazy even. Go to the market, buy some fresh seasonal vegetables, steam or grill them, season lightly, serve with some grilled shrimp or meat. And if you live in Texas where the forecasted highs for the first week in June are already in the triple-digits, you really should grill the whole meal. Because there is nothing more miserable than dripping in sweat in an 88 degree kitchen after sautéeing some vegetables on the stove for SEVEN whole minutes.

It’s always so refreshing to see the local vegetables appear after a long winter full of chili, roasts, root vegetables, and casseroles (and those five extra pounds from said casseroles). Asparagus, zucchini, and green beans seem to be the favorites in our house during the summer. They are most delicious prepared and dressed simply – when they’re in season they don’t need anything extra to make them shine.

But let’s face it, after a month or so, plain jane vegetables can get a little boring. Ten straight nights of steamed green beans is enough to make me run back to the casseroles. Sometimes you have to fancy the vegetables up a little bit – not so much that you mask their flavor (or add 300 extra calories), but just enough to add some interest and make your taste buds sing again. This sauce verte does just that.

Green Beans and Zucchini with Sauce Verte

adapted from Bon Appétit

Sauce Verte

1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 green onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (packed) fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Vegetables

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound green beans, stem end trimmed
12 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)

For the sauce verte, blend the first seven ingredients in a food processor. Add the oil in a steady stream with motor running until a course paste is formed, similar to pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.

For the vegetables, heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.* Add the vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and water, cover and cook for four minutes, until almost crisp-tender. Uncover and cook for two more minutes, until just tender. Stir in enough sauce verte to coat the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

*Alternately, you could cook the vegetables on the grill (and not raise the temperature of your 1950s house by 15 degrees). You could make a foil pouch, add the vegetables and water, and let it hang out on the grill until crisp tender. I’ve never grilled green beans, but grilled zucchini is phenomenal, so if you have a skillet or vegetable grate for your grill, just toss the vegetables on there. I’m sure they’ll be delicious.

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