Green beans with toasted cashews and a brown sugar reduction
Time: 20 minutes
Green beans, with tips cut off (frozen is fine!)
Cashews (1-2 bags, unsalted)
Sunflower or canola oil (just enough to coat the pan)
Salted Butter (2 sticks or 250 g)
Brown Sugar (About 3 T)
Corn starch (1 T if necessary)
Place the green beans in 2 T water inside a microwaveable bowl or pot.
Microwave the green beans for 6 minutes, or cook on the stove about 10 minutes on medium heat until slightly tender, but still a bit crunchy.
In a small pan, preferably a cast iron mini skillet, toast the cashews in some sunflower or canola oil until just lightly coated, and slightly brown on all sides. This should take about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Drain the water from the green beans and toss in the cashews. Place it in the oven on the “warming” or lowest setting, until ready.
In a small saucepan, preferably nonstick, melt SALTED butter over medium-low heat. (I promise you, the salted butter makes all the difference in flavor here!)
Slowly, by spoonfuls, add brown sugar. Don’t go overboard - it should not be super thick, but rather a bit liquid. Keep stirring constantly until the mixture reduces, about 3 minutes.
The interesting thing about chemistry is its application in the kitchen. Here is where the corn starch comes into play. To thicken up your sauce, especially if you don’t want an overly sweet glaze, just add a bit of cornstarch to the glaze. (No more than 1 T). The corn starch is a thickener but does not add any flavor, unlike when you add flour, which changes both the flavor and texture of glazes, sauces, and reductions.
At this point, the sauce should be as thick as honey, but still drip from a spoon. It should also be both sweet and salty.
If it is overwhelming sweet to your taste, add another stick (125 g) of salted butter and a tad more cornstarch.
Take the green beans with toasted cashews out of the oven and place them on a platter (instead of the bowl it should still be in).
Spread out the beans and drizzle the glaze on top, sparingly.
*Note: This picture has pancetta and no sauce...better picture coming soon!