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Practicing the basics: green beans

Green beans are a great and easy-to-make side dish. While you can cook green beans on high heat, it’s easy to overcook them that way. This recipe boils them first then finishes them off with some butter and chives in the same pan — it takes about the same amount of time, but gives you much more control over the result.

Makes 4 servings. Time required: 15 minutes.


  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried chopped chives

Rinse and trim the stems off the green beans.

Fill a deep 12-inch saucepan with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Add green beans and salt, and cook for 5-6 minutes until slightly softened.

Drain and return the beans to the pan. Add the butter and chives and stir to coat. The butter will melt in the still-hot pan.

Season to taste. Serve immediately.

Tips and suggestions:

  • Swap out the chives for other herbs and spices. Chives are a close relation of onions and shallots, and all three complement green beans well, but so do tarragon, oregano, and several other herbs.
  • You can use olive oil or margarine in place of the butter.
  • You can throw flavoring agents into the water. One variation of this recipe includes orange peels, to give a subtle orange background flavor to the beans.

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