Here's a boldly flavored side dish that comes together quickly. Roast the green beans and shallots together, which takes 20 minutes or less, and then toss with finely chopped garlic and ginger juice. Though the juice seems to evaporate as soon as it hits the hot beans, it leaves behind its spicy bite and wonderful aroma. You can use either prepared ginger juice or, for the best flavor, make it yourself, starting with grated fresh ginger. If you do opt for the convenience of prepared ginger juice (available at specialty food markets — a good one is made by The Ginger People), use the leftover to enlighten salad dressings, marinades, and, perhaps my favorite, cocktails.
Serves 4 to 5
One 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled (about 2 ounces), or 1 tablespoon bottled ginger juice
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 to 3 shallots, sliced into rings about
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or mint, or a combination
Method: High heat
Roasting time: 15 to 20 minutes
Heat the oven. Position a rack near the center of the oven and heat to 450 degrees (425 degrees convection). If desired, line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the ginger juice, if necessary. Grate the ginger finely, using a microplane or ceramic ginger grater. When you have grated about 2 tablespoons, squeeze the grated ginger over a small, sturdy fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Try to extract as much liquid as you can. (If you don't have a small sieve, either squeeze the grated ginger in a bit of cheesecloth or simply place it in the palm of one hand, squeeze your fist closed, and press the fingertips of your other hand against the place where the juice runs out to act as a sort of strainer.) Continue squeezing until you have 1 tablespoon fresh juice. Reserve the juice and discard the grated ginger.
Roast. Combine the beans and shallots on the baking sheet, arranging them in a loose layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to coat. Roast, tossing once or twice with tongs, until the beans are tender, browned in spots, and beginning to shrivel and the shallots are browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes.
Season and serve. Transfer to a bowl. Immediately add the garlic and ginger juice and toss to coat. Add the fresh herbs, toss, and season with additional salt if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art by Molly Stevens. Copyright 2011 by Molly Stevens. Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton.