Skillet Green Beans with Garlic & Cashews

A hot skillet makes everything taste great.

This side dish was one of those off-the-cuff veggie things that I do on occasion.

The dish started with schmaltz. Schmaltz is the Yiddish word for rendered chicken fat, which is used as a cooking oil in kosher-keeping kitchens. It makes a great cooking oil, lending robust flavor to anything that’s cooked in it. Often, when I make a big vat of chicken broth, I’ll cool the broth overnight to remove the fat. The fat rises to the surface and can be pulled off in chunks after it solidifies at refrigerator temperatures. I’ll melt this chicken fat and strain it very well, leaving behind a highly-flavored (and highly-cholesteral-laden) cooking medium. It’s great to pan-fry anything — from eggs to chicken cutlets to veggies. So anyway, I had some schmaltz on hand, a nice supply of good green beans, and a little know-how.

I heated my trusty seasoned skillet over medium high until a droplet of water splashed on the hot surface skittered and hissed away instantaneously. I added a tablespoon of the chicken fat and about 12 thin slices of fresh garlic. The garlic browned very quickly, and when it did I threw in some raw (trimmed) green beans. I added about two tablespoons of dry white wine and covered the pan to steam the beans. After about one minute I uncovered the skillet and seasoned the green beans with plenty of salt and pepper. I added a tablespoon of butter and stirred it around. After a couple of minutes, when the beans got a little wrinkly and slightly browned, I tossed in a big handful of roasted cashews. I cooked that another thirty seconds or so and then removed the beans from the pan. It was dinnertime!

This yummy side dish made a perfect accompaniment for crispy pork chops. I think it would be nice with chicken or steak or fish as well!