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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou {food 'n flix: A Good Year}

Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou {food 'n flix: A Good Year} |
What would you do if your favorite uncle, from whom you were estranged, passed away and left you a beautiful chateau in Provence?  That is exactly the "predicament" that Max Skinner, a powerful London investment trader found himself in.  Growing up, Uncle Henry was Max's favorite person to be around. He spent time with him in France, learning life lessons sampling the wine of the land.  But Max grew up and grew away, choosing to live in the city and value money, power, (local) fame; basically, he liked a fast life.

Having just made a questionable "play" on the market, Max's best friend and lawyer, Charlie, encourages him to take a few days to fly to France and settle his affairs.  Max is determined to get in, prepare for the sale of the chateau, the land, the vines, and get out in a manner of days.  But life never goes according to plan now, does it?

Fate steps in and slowly starts to crumble Max's well-laid plans.  Memories of his youth that happened within 100 feet of where he is now standing.  And of course, there is a love story; trying to win the heart of the beautiful woman that you (unknowingly) almost killed.  There's also a wrench thrown into his plans when Henry's illegitimate daughter shows up looking for him, and Max suddenly has family again.

And then, there's the matter of the horrific wine being produced by the estate's long-time winemaker, Duflot.  Max cannot comprehend the horror that is the wine, and why Duflot is so attached to his vines.  But sometimes, one cannot see what lies beneath.
Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou {food 'n flix: A Good Year} |
I have not read the book by Peter Mayle that inspired this movie, but I hear they are very different.  It's probably a good thing that I saw the movie before reading the book, or I may not have enjoyed it.  And enjoyed it, I did.  If you know me, you know that I love a good chick-flick...especially one set amidst grape vines in the beautiful Southeast of France, with good food scenes thrown in.

What was I inspired to make after watching A Good Year?  I went with something simple, and perhaps the most evocative of Provence (in my mind): Pistou.  Pistou is a simple Provençal sauce made of basil, garlic, and olive oil at its core.  It is very similar to the Italian pesto, but does not contain (pine)nuts, or Argentinian Chimichurri.  You'll often find some tomato and a bit of hard grated cheese thrown in.  One of the most common uses for pistou is stirred into the summer vegetable soup, Soupe au Pistou, just before serving.  It is also often used with pasta or bread.  If I was being truly authentic for my dish, I would have used Haricot Vert - but I went with the larger, locally grown green beans because that's what I had.  Plus, I wanted to roast them, and I think that the heft on the green beans stands up to roasting a bit better than their slender counterparts.

So, pistou tossed with some roasted green beans, with some crusty bread for sopping up the goodness left on the plate, and a glass of red to wash it all down.  I can totally close my eyes and conjure up the image of a beautiful Provençal landscape surrounding me...

Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou
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Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou {food 'n flix: A Good Year} |
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Keywords: roast side condiment vegetarian nut-free soy-free sugar-free basil garlic green beans French

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
    for the green beans:
    • ~1 pound green beans
    • olive oil
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    for the pistou:
    • big handful basil leaves (~2 cups)
    • 1 fat garlic clove, peeled
    • 1/2 of a small tomato, seeded
    • small palmful grated/shredded Parmesan (~1/4 cup)
    • extra virgin olive oil
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    for the green beans:
    Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

    Snap the stem end off of the green beans, and rinse them. Place between two clean kitchen towels (or use a few layers of paper towels) to dry. Toss the green beans with a good drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Slide into preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes, or until just brown in spots and crisp-tender.

    for the pistou:
    While the beans are roasting, place the basil, garlic, tomato, and Parmesan in the bowl of a small food processor and blend, drizzling in just enough olive oil to make it turn smoothly. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more Parmesan, if you want. The pistou should be the consistency of pesto.

    putting it all together:
    When you take the beans out of the oven, toss them with half of the pistou. Add more pistou, to taste, or enjoy the rest squooshed on some crusty bread.

    This is a basic roasted green bean. You could toss some lemon zest and/or herbs before roasting, as well. Toss with freshly grated Parmesan after you remove from the oven, if not using pistou.

    Roasted Green Beans w/ Pistou {food 'n flix: A Good Year} |
    Food‘nFlixOur Food 'n Flix pick for this month is A Good Year, hosted by Tina from Squirrel Head Manor.  Submissions are due at the end of the month, so you have a wee bit of time left if you want to join in.

    Next month, we will be watching Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, hosted by Evelyne at Cheap Ethnic Eatz.  I hope you will join us.

    This post contains Amazon affiliate links.