In this recipe for balsamic green beans, a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar coats the beans, giving them a wonderful complexity of flavor.
In this recipe for balsamic green beans, a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar coats the beans, giving them complexity of flavor that no vegetable can have without some assistance (and I do like plain steamed green beans too, just for the record). It’s a delicious side dish, and it’s also very easy to make.
The first time I tasted balsamic vinegar was in a restaurant in Italy. The waiter served us our order of Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Before we had a chance to start eating, he carefully, proudly, drizzled a few drops of thick, dark, extra aged balsamic vinegar on our steaks.
You see, traditional, extra aged balsamic vinegar is not really vinegar anymore, at least not in the sense that we usually think about vinegar. It’s a dark, rich, very thick syrup, with such a complex flavor profile that I don’t think I have the vocabulary to even try describing it, although “sweet,” “fruity” and “syrupy” come to mind, and “acidic” is also there, yes, but it’s very subtle and well balanced out by the other flavors.
Ever since that visit to Italy, I always have Italian balsamic vinegar in my pantry.
Not all balsamic vinegars are created equal, however. I would never use extra aged balsamic vinegar in cooking. It would be a waste. For cooking, young balsamic vinegar, which is more acidic than sweet, is quite suitable. And it’s easier to find young balsamic vinegar in the US.
So this recipe for balsamic green beans uses young balsamic vinegar. Give it a try – it’s become one of my favorite ways to cook green beans.
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the green beans in a 9 X 13-inch Pyrex dish. Add the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to toss together, making sure the beans are well coated.
- Roast until just tender, tossing once midway through roasting, about 20 minutes.
- To serve the balsamic green beans, divide them among plates and drizzle with the pan juices.