I really can't think of a vegetable I don't like. Honestly. Even Brussels sprouts. It's all in the preparation. Roasting is usually my favorite way to make my veggies, especially Brussels sprouts, eggplant and broccoli. (Trust me, even if you thought you never liked broccoli, try it roasted. You'll change your tune.)
Generally, my favorite way to eat green beans is the good ol' Southern version — slow cooked in broth with salt pork. Not the healthiest, but still delicious. But my mom recently mentioned she made some green beans that she had to urge my 15-year-old brother to share, rather than begging him to eat more.
Cooked in a super-hot pan in a mixture of butter and olive oil, the sugars in the beans caramelize and the starchy, bland beans are transformed into sweet, juicy, crisp-tender bites of goodness. (Overboard? Make them yourself and tell me then.) Here's the thing: these are best when the beans are the skinny, French haricots verts. We tried the recipe with both skinny beans and regular beans, and the smaller, tender ones are the best. Look for them in the grocery store, pre-washed and bagged.
Mom's Green Beans
2 bags haricots verts
1 1/2 tablespoons butter*
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch of Kosher salt
Put butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. When butter stops bubbling and starts to turn light brown, add beans. Sprinkle with salt and sautee, tossing frequently at first to coat in the oil, then less often, letting beans brown in places. When the beans are tender and mostly browned, they're done. This usually takes 3-6 minutes. You want to see an even, golden-brown to dark brown color on the beans, but if they get too dark before they seem tender, turn the heat down.
*On a side note, I recently used Plugra brand butter for risotto. It's got a higher butter-fat content and less water than regular butter (the name is a play on the French words plus gras meaning more fat.) I have to say, we really tasted the difference. (You may remember that I am a big fan of butter...) The price was comparable to the other butters in the dairy aisle, and although it's obviously not the healthiest choice, I think if you're using butter, you may as well go all the way. Look for it and give it a try if you're a butter lover like me.