Sesame-Miso Green Beans/Sandomame goma-miso ae

It is getting to be that wonderful time of year when all kinds of fresh vegetables are making their way to produce stands and coming out of back yard gardens.  Juicy red tomatoes, full of acid, are my most favorite.  After that, they are all rated No. 2.  I grew up eating vegetables.  It was none of this coaxing and threatening.  There was one simple rule – eat what was offered or make do with bread and milk.  Because I was started on veggies as a toddler, I had no problem with that rule.  A backyard garden added to the appeal of veggies. The garden was not only a source of fresh food for us, it provided us home-canned and frozen veggies to take us through to next garden season. Summer meals often consisted of nothing but vegetables and of course, a big ol’ glass of sweet tea.

As a child, the vegetable garden was often a magical place to play. Warm, soft earth caressed bare feet, tiny frogs hiding under leaves, lady bugs, butterflies, birds pulling worms from the soil or grubs eaten off plants – except time spent with a book, this was one of my favorite places to be and thing to do. I helped weed and pick the vegetables. I was taught respect for the plants, the earth, the food, and the value of hard work and a job well done. A ripe tomato, or cucumber, or a few green beans pulled right from the plant made an excellent snack.

Veggies picked that morning were on the table for lunch and supper that same day.  Garden to table is still the best way.  That isn’t always possible but consuming veggies picked within a few days is next best.  Always choose the freshest you can find of what is in season.  Seasonal fruits and veggies save money and when at their peak, has a flavor that beats frozen/canned/weeks old veggies hands down.  Pulling down the shucks of ears of corn, with dew still on the shucks is a sensual delight.  The silky feel of the husk, the green smell of the husk as it exposes the lush yellow, white, bi-color kernels, the pop of the kernels when you bite into them or slide a paring knife down the ear separating kernels from cob…I can go on and on about corn.  And don’t get me started on tomatoes, okra, squashes, green beans, butter beans, cucumbers…

But I digress.  We started off with a recipe about green beans.  There are many different varieties: blue lake, tender green, Kentucky Wonder, Tenderette, and many more.  Then types: bush, climbing, half runner, flat, pole beans, , Italian, French, and…Hannibal Lecter’s F-f-fava beans .  Different textures, flavors – green beans are not your plain old green side dish.  Barely cooked and bright green and crisp, cooked with bacon or ham or fatback until melt in the mouth and flavored with the meat, pickled (!), cooked in the manner of different cuisines using tomatoes, garlic, sesame, onions, peppers, soy – they bring international flavor to your plain old everyday meal.

I enjoy green beans many different ways.  One of my favorites is quick cooked and then tossed with a creamy sesame and miso sauce.  A plate of these on their own is a quick dinner for me.  Some on the side of teriyaki chicken and rice makes a fancy meal that is not your same old meat, starch, vegetable supper.  Mixing these with freshly made and cooked udon is another of my happy place dishes.

You can find the ingredients in Asian food stores or sometimes, in specialty sections of a grocery store.  If you can’t find the sesame paste, tahini can be substituted and in a pinch, smooth peanut butter, but the taste will be very different. This recipe is fairly common. The version I use comes from the Hakone area.

Sandomame Goma-miso Ae
1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame paste (shiro neri goma)
1 1/2 tablespoons shiro (sweet, white) miso
dash of low sodium soy sauce
good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons daishi or water, or water from cooking green beans
16 ounces green beans, whole or cut into 2 inch pieces or sliced in diagonals
1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (optional)

In a bowl, mix the sesame paste with the miso, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Stir with wooden spoon or non-reactive whisk to blend completely. Taste, and if it seems too sweet, adjust the seasoning with salt. Blend by hand again until smooth. Thin the mixture with stock or water, one spoonful at a time. Set aside.  Clean the green beans, snapping off the ends. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the beans and cook for 3 minutes or until bright green. Drain the beans then let cool at room temperature.

Toss the green beans in the sesame-miso sauce just before serving and garnish with sesame seeds. I always like to add a light sprinkle of thinly sliced green onion. Serves 4 (maybe).

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Let's CUT the Crap!
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:39:47

    Beans. Have always loved them. I recall our garden patch at around eight when we moved into our own house I weeded and marveled at the magic beans and carrots, radishes and lettuce. Nothing like a sun warmed tomato or a newly pulled carrots wiped on a pant leg and eaten before reaching the house.
    This sounds like another bean recipe I’d like to add to my stash. ❤

    Reply

  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:41:41

    BTW, I am wearing purple for YOU. ❤ (Also my favorite color.)

    Reply

  3. wholeproduction
    May 16, 2014 @ 13:59:13

    I might try this! thanks 🙂

    Reply

  4. jaklumen
    May 18, 2014 @ 01:15:14

    what is the difference between sesame paste and tahini? I have had the latter, but not the former.

    Reply

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