It’s prime green bean season, and one of my favorite things to do with them is braise them in a sort of Thai style. This is not how you’re supposed to treat high-season green beans, but whatever. The recipe is based on one from Mark Bittman a few years ago. That version involves a quartered duck. This is a lot faster.
Trim a pound or two of green beans. Thinly slice several shallots and three or four Thai or serrano chiles. Heat peanut oil in a saute pan and add the shallots. Cook until just beginning to wilt. Add the green beans, chiles, and a healthy shake of fish sauce, and stir to combine. Add a couple teaspoons of sugar (palm sugar if you have it), and half a cup of water, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer until the beans are crisp-tender, maybe 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and reduce the sauce until syrupy. Squeeze half a lime over, season with additional fish sauce if necessary, and serve.
That said, I attempted to do this the other day, and the green beans I’d bought were stringy, waxy, and inedible. What causes this? Field lice? Evil spirits?