1pound(450 grams) fresh green beanswashed and trimmed
¼teaspooneach salt and pepperor to taste
Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat, add the pecans (no oil) and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes until they just begin to toast and darken slightly. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a pan of boiling water, add the trimmed green beans and boil (blanche) for 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan or skillet, over a medium/high heat then stir in the green beans, cranberries and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until the beans are heated through. Season with the salt and pepper, add the pecans, stir well and cook for a further minute.
Choose green beans that are all even in size and not bruised or browned. This will help them cook evenly and stay fresh
Keep an eye on the pecans while toasting as they can burn very quickly if they are not watched.
Blanching is an important process for making this side dish as it keeps the green beans fresh and tender and also keeps them from undercooking in the pan.
You can also use an ice bath after blanching the green beans to stop the cooking process immediately.
Instead of pecans, toasted cashews, walnuts, or slivered almonds add a great nutty flavor and crunch to the dish.
Instead of dried cranberries, you can also use dried raisins, currants, or golden berries to get that sweet and tart flavor.
Add additional vegetables by tossing in some sauteed mushrooms and onions or your favorite veggie.
Add a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or tangerine juice on top for a bright citrusy flavor.
Storing: Green beans with cranberries and pecans can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on a medium heat skillet until warmed through.