Green beans with pine nuts

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Green beans should have a bright, strong colour, with crisp pods with a satin-like sheen. They should not look wilted, discoloured or brown. They are best eaten when young and tender. To tell how fresh they are, snap one in half. The ‘snap’ should be clean and clear. Don’t buy them if the ‘snap’ is lacking, and if the insides do not seem juicy when you break them open. Home-grown green beans are in season from June to September. Thin green finger-length beans that are also called French beans or haricots verts. They also include the fatter snap or bobby bean, and the yellow wax bean. Confusingly, green beans are not always green; some varieties you might find at farmers’ markets and farm shops are yellow or purple – but all are delicious.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Spanish olive oil

50 g pine nuts

½ – 1 tsp paprika

450 g green been

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

salt and pepper

juice of ½ lemon

Green beans with pine nuts

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan, add the pine nuts and cook for about 1 minute, stirring all the time and shaking the frying pan, until light golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pine nuts from the frying pan, drain well on kitchen paper, then transfer to a bowl. Set aside the oil in the frying pan for later. Add the paprika, according to taste, to the pine nuts, stir together until coated and then set aside.

Trim the green beans and remove any strings if necessary. Put the beans in a saucepan, pour over boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until tender but still firm. Drain well in a sieve.

Reheat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the beans to the frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing together with the onion until heated through. Season the beans to taste with salt and pepper.

Turn the contents of the frying pan into a warmed serving dish, sprinkle over the lemon juice and toss together. Sprinkle over the golden pine nuts and serve hot.