String Beans Sauteed with Garlic


1 lb (450 g) string beans
1 large fat clove garlic
1-2 tablespoons groundnut (peanut) or sunflower oil
1 cup water
Pinch Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Wash the beans then top and tail them. If you do this individually, it will seem like a lifetime's work.

2. What you do is take a handful of beans, hold them vertically over a chopping board and shake them gently in your hand until the tip of each bean just touches the surface of the board. Once they are all level, lay them flat and cut off the ends.

3. Do the same with the other end and in no time the beans will be trimmed.

4. Heat the oil in the largest frying pan you have - the idea is to lay the beans in as near one layer as possible, rather than heaped up.

5. Put the washed beans into the hot oil and add the finely chopped garlic. Turn the beans in the oil and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes. They will start to go bright green.

6. Put in enough water just to cover them, about quarter of an inch (5 mm) deep, and turn up the heat to maximum. The water will boil away as the beans cook.

7. It will only take 7 or 8 minutes. As soon as the beans start to sizzle as the water boils away, sprinkle them generously with salt and a good scrunch of black pepper, turn them and, as soon as the water has completely gone, serve them.

8. The water has taken some of the garlic flavour and boiled it into the beans, the beans are lightly coated and glistening with oil but not greasy, and the pepper and salt just set it all off.

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