Blistered Green Beans with Roasted Tomato Almond Pesto

This may just be my new favorite vegetable recipe. Well, let’s say green vegetable because it’s pretty hard to beat a perfect bruschetta in the middle of tomato season. But this is a close second.



The secret is in the caramelization of, well, everything. The green beans have to be blistered, and the tomatoes charred. The almonds toasted to a deep brown. Put it all together and you have a collection of flavors that simultaneously complement and contrast each other.

First, the tomatoes. I’m going to admit it — I cheated. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it cheating — I made this in November, and it’s a fairly well known fact (well, at least I know it!) that good canned tomatoes are much better than the off season fresh ones you get in the supermarket. So I did a little experiment: I used whole San Marzano tomatoes, out of a can, instead of fresh cherry tomatoes. I know! Heresy.

But you know what? They turned out great and I would do it again in a second. The secret is to keep the tomatoes relatively whole, except make a small hole with your finger and squeeze out the liquid in the middle. Give them a quick pat to dry, and then toss them with a light coating of olive oil and arrange them on a sheet pan so they’re not touching. Roast them around 350 until the edges start to get black. When they’re done, scrape them up with a spatula and proceed as normal. By the way — roasting canned tomatoes like this works to add a huge flavor shot to all sorts of stuff like dips, sauces, hummus, etc.

Next, the green beans. I got out my cast iron skillet, cranked the heat up and got some vegetable oil just at the point of smoking. Toss in some washed (but very dry!) green beans and let them sit until they’re thoroughly blistered. Then give then a turn.

Here’s where it all gets good — combine half of the tomatoes with the almonds (and the rest of the ingredients — see the recipe!) and give it a whirr in the food processor. The pesto that results is good enough to eat with a spoon, and even better on top of the blistered green beans.

Toss it all together and consume voraciously!




(Ha! Mine doesn’t look like Bon Appetit’s version! Looks like mine has more tomatoey pesto goodness — I’ll take it!)

Cool Ingredient: Romanesco Broccoli

There aren’t a lot of ingredients as visually stunning as Romanesco broccoli. Its shape is a fractal — a self-repeating collection of florets that seem to swirl on, tinier and tinier, forever. I don’t often see it at the store (we get it from time to time in our weekly farm box), but I’m sure if you look hard enough at Whole Foods you’ll see it every once in a while.

The texture is much like cauliflower, but the flavor is unquestionably broccoli. We got a bunch last week, and made veggie pizza with it. Give it a shot next time you want to jazz up traditional broccoli with something a little trippier.


We ended up stumbling upon a winner with the broccoli pizza, so I’ve added the recipe below.



Recipe: Broccoli Veggie Pizza
1 batch of homemade or store-bought pizza dough
1 bunch of Romanesco broccoli (or regular broccoli)
1 container of white button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (torn or cut in pieces), or 1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 canned whole tomatoes, drained (diced or crushed will work too)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
Dash or two of red wine vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper
Additional olive oil for brushing crust


Heat oven and pizza stone as hot as you can get it. Mine goes to 550 degrees or so if I set it to broil.


Combine canned tomatoes, garlic, tablespoon olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until the consistency of sauce. Simmer in saucepan over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until sauce thickens and garlic is fragrant. If you don’t have a food processor, just use crushed tomatoes and dice the garlic up very finely before simmering.


Onions and mushrooms:
Sauté mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until they’ve released most of their liquid. Add a bit more oil and onion slices, sauté everything until caramelized.


Steam for 6-7 minutes until tender but not mushy.


Toss the pizza crust and place on a peel or baking sheet. Lightly brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread cooked sauce on oiled crust. Sprinkle onions and mushrooms and then add pieces of broccoli. Top with mozzarella pieces or shreds.


Cook pizza on stone until crust is golden brown and top is bubbly.