Monday, April 1, 2013

Charlene Makes Eric's Sofrito Green Beans - Part 1

Today, guest blogger, Charlene Lyon, takes us on her journey to making Eric Wiliams's delicious SOFRITO GREEN BEANS. I have decided to present her tales in two parts: the sofrito sauce first, then the green beans themselves. Put them together, and you've got one super tasty combination! So sit back and enjoy.

By Charlene Lyon

I can honestly say this is the very best green bean dish I've ever made...and now I'm officially spoiled.

You see, I'm usually a purist when it comes to vegetables. I like them steamed for just a minute or two until only slightly tender. Then I simply sprinkle a dusting of salt or Parmesan cheese on top. I don't need extra shenanigans.

But since my husband and I both love green beans so much, I decided to give Eric Williams's recipe for Sofrito Green Beans a try. Needless to say, neither one of us is ever turning back.
Step One - The Sofrito

Reading through Eric's recipe, it somewhat reminded me of a chimichurri sauce I made last summer: blended fresh herbs with varied seasonings, citrus, or vinegar. While I got to work, I put on some funky Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for background music. Secretly, I had a feeling this experiment was going to rock.

I was a bit worried at first that the mini-processor attachment for my stick blender wouldn't hold everything. But I wasn't going to pull out my large food processor if I didn't have to. Thankfully, everything fit. And as I suspected, the ingredients did concentrate after a long blend.

What a taste explosion!  

If you love Mexican or Latin food, this is a must try. It's just like summer vacation: fresh, fun, sunny, and just hot enough. (For the full recipe, refer to page 161 in Maria's book, "In the Kitchen with Cleveland's Favorite Chefs.")

FYI, although I tend to use dried herbs in late winter months, it is absolutely necessary to use fresh herbs for this recipe!
On my third or fourth taste of the sofrito, my imagination started to go wild with other ways to enjoy this tangy, spicy sauce: sofrito-topped burgers, a dip for tortilla chips, a sauce for tacos, fried or scrambled eggs for tomorrow's breakfast, sofrito quesadillas for lunch...I was in full brainstorm mode!
Leftover sofrito with fried eggs
After the sixth or seventh time I tasted the sofrito, it was time to finally make the green beans. 

Stay tuned for part 2!
[Just a note: Some of you may want to reduce the salt by half. I found the fresh sauce by itself to be slightly salty. The flavor is so fresh, tart, and strong that all of the salt may not be entirely necessary due to one's tastes or dietary needs. However, it really was perfectly fine with all the salt listed after I tossed it with the green bean mixture.] 

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