The book:  Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan, $29.95)

The recipe:  Simple Beans

Why I tried it: Green beans are a staple in our household.  We eat them pretty much weekly, so I’m always looking for new ways to make them. I like them close to plain and pristine when we have fresh garden beans in the summer, but the rest of the time I like them robustly flavored.  The moment I saw “6 garlic cloves” and “5 anchovy fillets” – all for a mere 1/2 pound of beans – I knew we had a deal.

Why I loved it:  This is one of those times when the anchovy just melts away into the butter, and you wouldn’t remember it’s there if not for the powerful hit of umami which accompanies every bite.  Technique-wise, it’s pretty usual for green beans – blanch them real quick and then turn them around in some flavored fat.  But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bean dish that packs more shout-it-from-the-rooftops flavor than this one.  Eat it with someone you love – not necessarily recommended for first dates.

Estimated preparation time:  Less than 1/2 hour – and half of that is waiting for water to boil.

Click here for my complete list of 2013 cookbook recommendations.  You can also find many, many more recommendations for great cookbooks on my app, Cookbook Finder (available for your  iPhone/iPad or Android device).


Simple Beans
Serves 4

Kosher salt
1⁄2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 anchovy fillets
1⁄4 teaspoon chile flakes
Lemon wedges

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and have a bowl of ice and water ready. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, then dunk them into the ice bath. Allow the beans to cool completely, then drain them in a colander.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, reduce the heat to low, and sauté until golden brown but not burned, about 3 minutes. Add the anchovies and sauté over low heat until the fillets begin to dissolve into the butter, about 3 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, add the chile flakes and green beans, and cook just until the beans are tender but still crispy, about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Excerpted from Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Quentin Bacon.