Not all green beans are alike. The longer the bean was on the vine, the tougher it can be. Fresh, young beans should be able to cook up perfectly well in less than 6 minutes. Tough old beans will have to cook a lot longer to get them tender. Look for beans that easily snap in half when you bend them.
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends snipped off and discarded, extra long beans, cut in half if you want
- 2-3 slices bacon
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar
1 Boil the green beans: Heat a pot of salted water to a rolling boil (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts of water). Add the green beans and boil them for 4-5 minutes, until just tender enough to eat (you may have to cook longer depending on the particular green beans you have). Drain and set aside.
2 Cook the bacon: While the water is heating up to boil the beans, slowly cook the bacon until crispy in a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat.
Use a slotted spoon or a fork to remove the bacon from the pan. Set the bacon on paper towels to sop up the excess fat.
You should have about one tablespoon of fat left in the pan. Pour off any fat beyond 1 tablespoon. (Do not pour the fat down the drain or you'll stop up your drain.) If you have much less fat than a tablespoon left in the pan, add a little olive oil or butter to the pan.
3 Sauté the green beans in the bacon fat: Once the green beans are just barely cooked through, sauté them over medium-high heat for another minute in the bacon fat.
4 Toss with bacon: Dice the bacon and add to the pan with the green beans. Sauté another minute.
5 Finish and serve: Put the beans and bacon into a large serving bowl and sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper. Toss with lemon juice or vinegar and serve at once.