It’s an old trick to boil or steam your vegetables ahead and just before they make their appearance at the table, heat them in a quick, flavorful sauté. Seasoning is totally your call and it can have as much attitude as you’d like, as in these warm-tasting spices of the West Indies and a garlic-tomato sauté.
Cook to Cook
: The West Indies Spice Blend
recipe gives you more than you will need here, so store the remainder in a jar and use with abandon to bring life to all kinds of meats, fish and veggies. Just remember, for the most flavor, always begin by warming the blend in oil.
Boil the beans a day ahead if you’d like; serve them hot or at room temperature.
- 1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed away
- Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 quarts of boiling salted water in a 6-quart pot
- 1 teaspoon West Indies Spice Blend
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup fine-chopped fresh or canned tomatoes with their liquid
1. Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil in a 6-quart pot. Boil the beans in the water, uncovered, for about 3 minutes or until tender. Drain the beans immediately in a colander and cool quickly under cold running water. Drain well and set aside.
2. Coat the bottom of a 12-inch slant-sided skillet with a thin film of oil and set it over medium heat. With a wood spatula, stir in the garlic with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Adjust the heat so that the garlic doesn’t burn and stir for 1 minute, or until the garlic is soft, but not colored.
3. Blend in the spice blend and cinnamon and stir over low heat another few seconds until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook until their moisture is gone.
4. Add the beans to the skillet, tossing to heat through and coat with the sauté. Once the beans are hot, taste them for seasoning and transfer to a serving platter, scraping all their flavorings over them. Serve hot or at room temperature.