First World Problems

Sunday, August 9, 2015
The minute I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Locally-grown green beans, served in season and topped with a savoury sabayon. It had 'classic' written all over it.

The ingredients were easy to find, and I had almost everything I needed. But I hesitated when I got to champagne vinegar. With all the vinegar I had in my cupboard, at least one had to be champagne vinegar, right?

And how many bottles of vinegar did I have in that cupboard, anyhow?

I'm mortified to say that I counted them and found 11 (eleven). Several were repeats, so it's not like I owned eleven different varieties. But still - eleven?

And how many of those eleven bottles do you think were made from champagne? You'd be right if you guessed a number that rhymes with hero. But the only hero I wanted to see was one bearing an apron instead of a cape, and a bottle of champagne vinegar tucked under an arm.

I like to think I'm a person of restraint, and the idea of going out and buying a twelfth bottle was more than I could bear. So I took a chance on the white-wine vinegar that nestled halfway back in that cupboard, and was amply rewarded with this wonderful side dish. Don't let its simplicity fool you - this is one of the loveliest ways I've ever eaten green beans. And if you're anything like my family, you'll eat them faster than a speeding bullet. Super(hero) food, indeed.


Green Beans with Tarragon-Lemon Sabayon
(from The Broad Fork, by Hugh Acheson)

kosher salt
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup sparkling wine
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Prepare an ice water bath and place it near the stove. Bring 2 quarts of water to a vigorous boil in a pot, and add enough kosher salt to make it pleasantly salty.

Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, plunge the beans into the ice bath to stop the cooking, and then transfer the cooled beans to a plate lined with a paper towel.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream to form soft peaks, and set aside.

Find a medium metal bowl that can nestle into a saucepan or double boiler. Pour 2 inches of water into the saucepan and heat it over medium heat until it steams. Put the egg yolks, lemon zest, sparkling wine, vinegar, and a generous pinch of kosher salt in the metal bowl and place it on the saucepan, making sure the bowl doesn't directly touch the water. Whisk vigorously until the liquid foams and then thickens into a custard, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking. Cool the custard in the fridge, lightly covered, and then remove from the fridge, and fold in the whipped cream and the tarragon.

Arrange the beans on a platter and top with the sabayon, parsley and chives. Serve immediately.

22 comments:

Julie said...

What a great story and an even better dish! Looks fabulous and what a way to dress up green beans. :). Now I must go count how many bottles of vinegar I have ......

Liz Berg said...

What a fabulous way to serve green beans! I'm not going to tell you how many vinegars I have in my pantry, except to say I'm sure a purging is in order :)

Liz Berg said...

What a fabulous way to serve green beans! I'm not going to tell you how many vinegars I have in my pantry, except to say I'm sure a purging is in order :)

Angie Schneider said...

I just went to the kitchen and counted it..I have 5 bottles in 4 different kinds. That savoury sabayon will be fantastic for some asparagus too.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great idea for green beans. I substitute out ingredients sometimes too.

Monica said...

I'm with you. I'm pretty positive I would've used the white wine vinegar too...although having a bottle of champagne vinegar in the house wouldn't be a bad thing, I'm sure. ; ) This looks great!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds delicious! I never have heavy cream in the house - and usually by the time I buy it, I've forgotten the recipe it was attached too :)

Bonnie said...

Oh I bet I can compete in the how many vinegar bottles game. I think I may even have some champagne vinegar. Have a great week!

Laura Dembowski said...

I actually have a bottle of champagne vinegar that I have no idea what to do with. Now I have an awesome idea!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, i'm always looking for a new way to prepare vegetables, love this version.

Gloria Baker said...

I think look great and beatiful (11 vinegars bottles? well I use a lot too for clean and others)
beautiful plate Beth!

Joanne said...

You had me at savory sabayon!! And I've been in such a vinegar situation. We are currently without sherry vinegar and it really feels like every recipe I want to make lately calls for it!

grace said...

what a cleverly written post! i have several varieties of vinegar myself, but i'm sure champagne isn't one of them...
this sounds delicious!

Marcela said...

Sounds awesome! I totally love these beans! 11vinegar bottles?:D wow!:D

Jessica Lawson said...

Yummy! Just bought some green beans and will have to try this! We've got a vinegar problem as well. That and different kinds of salts :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

I can't really tell much of a difference between white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or even sherry vinegar. So throw me out of the foodie union! Anyway, this is great -- super recipe, and fun read. Thanks!

handmade by amalia said...

I love it when you have to improvise with what's at hand and it works :-)
Amalia
xo

Pam said...

Ha! Funny with the vinegar! I have a variety also and they all seem the same to me. But now I have to check out the champagne vinegar, that's a new one to me! The green beans look delicious with the sauce! Have a great weekend!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, these are very lovely looking green beans!

Katerina said...

Oh Beth I can totally relate to this! I have even more bottles of vinegar and by the way you made me go and check and found 20 and yes not even one of these bottles is champagne haha. Lovely beans and I think they tasted great even without the right vinegar!

Beth said...

Katerina, I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one with an overabundance of vinegar!

I Wilkerson said...

Wonderful timing! The CSAs are sending giant bags of beans and I am in a green bean almondine rut (and while it's a great dish, it is a real rut).

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