Friday, August 2, 2013

Grilled Balsamic Beans

Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety. – Francis Bacon 

Barbecuing sausage, hamburgers and hotdogs is a great way to share quality time with family and friends in the summer.

Actually, since the kitchen has been hot and we bought the new barbecue, there have been many weeknight dinners that have been cooked outside.

The airtight package will puff up.
A side salad – either green or potato – is an easy fall back plan as an accompaniment. But that can get tired really quickly. You begin to crave cooked vegetables, you know, something a little more “substantial.” Have you ever thought of cooking green beans as a side dish?

I don’t mean boiling water on the stove. I’m talking about steaming them while you cook your other food, right on the barbecue. It’s easy enough to do. All you need is some simple ingredients, foil and beans, of course.

If you have a garden, as we do, the beans are coming fast and furious about now. So any “creative” uses for them are welcome. You might think that the vinegar is an odd choice, but the result isn’t vinegary, just a little deeper. If anything the garlic overwhelms.

You can foil-steam many vegetables besides beans. Carrots or beets are other good contender. Potato chunks as well. Corn can be placed directly on the grate no foil needed or the kernels can be removed and done this way.

Of course some veggies won’t take to the vinegar as well as beans. Try a little water, wine or stock. Choose whatever spice you think would complement.

There’s lots of options for side dishes. All you have to do is but look. Since we’re on the back side (shudder) of summer you probably want to mix things up a bit.

So if you’re sick of salad, you may want to try this very simple recipe. Variety is the spice of life, alongside salt and pepper!

Grilled Balsamic Beans
Prep: 5 min  |  Grill: 15 min  |  Serves 4
1 lb green beans
2 lg garlic cloves, halved
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Place the beans on a piece of aluminum foil long enough to accommodate them with about 4” to spare on each end.

Break the garlic cloves up and scatter them on top. Sprinkle with the vinegar. Dot with butter, add the parsley, salt and pepper. Place another piece of foil on top and roll the edges to seal tightly.

Place on a low temperature grill and let cook for 15 minutes. The packet will swell if it is properly sealed and you will hear the liquid boiling in the sealed foil.

Remove from the heat, slice open the top and serve.


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