Just in time for the Holidays, Chef Justin Timineri, Certified Executive Chef of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Culinary Ambassador for everything Fresh from Florida, speaks exclusively with FlamingoMusings.com, shares tips, and demonstrates his fresh take on “String Bean Casserole”, live on the floor of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
I tend to hang around the Florida Pavilion a lot when I attend Fresh Summit, because unlike much of the rest of the country, the fall is when our growing season really begins. This is where you’re going to see truly fresh strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and corn, as well as various citrus varieties, such as the giant grapefruit cousins, Pomelos (or Pummelos, if you prefer). (Pssst – We’ve got some of those, too, and can’t wait to show them to you!)
Please watch the video for tips on technique, and more ideas from Chef Justin! (Please be kind – this was my first Facebook Live video and is unedited. I think you get a better feel for the conversation that way. I’ll work on it. ☺️ )
- [b]For the Sauce:[/b][br]
- • 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced (or pushed through a garlic press)
- • 2 Tbs. flour
- • 2 cups milk or cream (regular or “single” – not heavy cream)
- • 2 oz (by weight) grated Parmesan cheese
- • 2 oz (by weight) shredded Swiss cheese
- • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste[br]
- [b]The Vegetables:[/b][br]
- • 1 pound Florida snap beans, stems trimmed (or 1/2 lb snap beans plus 1/2 lb yellow wax beans)
- • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- • 16 large Florida button mushrooms (about 1 lb), rinsed and sliced
- • 2 Tbs olive oil
- • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- • 1/2 – 3/4 cup french-fried onions
- [b]The Sauce:[/b][br]
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
- Add the minced garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the flour and whisk together, until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Allow the butter and flour mixture to cook for about 2 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Slowly add the milk or cream, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes together smoothly.
- Allow milk mixture to bubble, whisking occasionally to keep it from scorching to the bottom of the pan, and it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add both cheeses, one at a time, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted smoothly into the sauce.
- Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the vegetables.[br]
- [b]The Vegetables:[/b][br]
- Blanch the beans in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain.
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of the oil.
- Sautée the sliced onions in the hot oil until softened and lightly caramelized – a light golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
- Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan and allow to heat for a few seconds.
- Add the blanched green beans and chopped garlic to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the green beans are almost to desired tenderness.
- Add mushrooms to the pan and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until cooked through.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Add half of the french-fried onions and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and place the vegetables into a serving dish.
- Check the consistency of the sauce. If it is too thick, put it back on the stove over medium heat and add a bit more milk or cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is warmed-through and is a smooth, pourable consistency.[br]
- Pour the sauce over the vegetables (as much or as little as you like), and garnish with the remaining french-fried onions.
I wrote up this recipe the way Chef Justin prepared it on the Fresh Summit Expo floor, which is a little bit different than the recipe on the Fresh from Florida website. One difference is that the recipe on the website does not contain the cheesy cream sauce. And regarding that cheesy cream sauce, Chef’s assistant whispered to me that he doesn’t give that recipe out! Hmmm… However, he did say that it is a variation of a classic mornay sauce, which is like a béchamel sauce with cheese, and similar to what we might use to make macaroni and cheese. He also told us that he used Parmesan and Swiss cheeses. The sauce recipe here is a variation of the recipe I use to make mac ‘n cheese. Taste it after you’ve added the cheeses and they’re thoroughly incorporated into the sauce. If you think it needs more cheese, feel free to add a little more, a little at a time, until it reaches the flavor you like. I think you’ll find it a delicious addition to these beautiful fresh vegetables.
If you require dairy-free, however, the dairy-free version of this recipe (no cheesy cream sauce) is available on the Fresh from Florida website.
I think you’ll enjoy this twist on a holiday classic, using fresh, unprocessed ingredients, Fresh from Florida!
Thanks, once again, to Chef Justin Timineri, for participating and sharing with us!