Green beans are definitely a family staple when it comes to vegetable side dishes. They're cheap to buy, easy to prepare and always seem to be available at the supermarkets all year long. Of course frozen beans are always available as well. I usually saute a bit of onion and garlic and then add in the green beans, but what I decided to do this time was "kick it up a notch," as Emeril Lagasse says. I took the same idea but caramelized the onions instead, and drizzled in a bit of balsamic vinegar to help bring out the sugars in the onions. Sprinkle a bit of toasted walnuts and I ended up with a wonderful side dish that would pair well with any meat you choose to serve it with.

Serves 4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • toasted walnuts, chopped

1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet, on low-medium heat, and add in the onions. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp of sugar. Slowly saute the onions for a good 25 minutes, until the onions shrink in size and deepen in colour.

2. While the onions are cooking, put on a pot of boiling water and partially cook the green beans. Once it has turned a bright green, drain and place the green beans in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

3. Add in the minced garlic into the pan with the onions, and saute for a minute. Then drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and quickly add in the partially cooked green beans. Generously season with salt and pepper, drop in the tbsp of butter and saute for another 2 minutes. Place on a large serving plate and sprinkle toasted walnuts on top, serve immediately.

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