When it comes to cooking in our home, I am the perfect “wingman”. When my son is at the house, I turn the reigns over to him because he is a professional chef and I cannot compete with his skill and expertise as well as his extensive food knowledge. If my son is not doing the cooking, then it’s my husband, who is as equally skilled and knowledgeable even though he has no formal training.
My son and husband are always in charge of the main course, and I love to watch them go head to head on what to prepare for the main dish, and how it should be prepared. My husband is very “old school” where as my son is displaying techniques he’s learned in the best kitchen’s in Los Angeles. It’s all very amusing.
So where do I fit in to all of this? I am the “queen of the side dish”. I really do excel in this position, because there is never any limitation on how many sides I can prepare and just how creative I can get. One of my all-time faves in the world of side dishes is Green Beans with Shallots and Pancetta. It’s easy, can partially be prepared in advance, and I never met anyone who didn’t love this dish. The combination of fresh green beans, savory caramelized shallots and crispy, salty pancetta with just a sprinkling of red pepper flakes is always a crowd pleaser. Whenever I’m having company for dinner, these are always on the table.
Green Beans with Shallots and Pancetta
Don’t crowd your pan with shallots. Overcrowding will cause the shallots to steam and take considerably longer to caramelize.
Don’t slice your shallots “too thin” as you can see they really reduce in size, and if they are too thin they will stick to the bottom of the pan.
Here is a great how-to on the best way to blanch your beans,. Remember, haricot vert is a thinner bean than regular string beans and will take a shorter time to blanch.