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The Importance of Availability: Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

  • Kasey
  • Food
  • Oct 17, 2011

Recipe for Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

Matt and I were talking recently about who we call (besides each other) when we need someone to talk to about something important. I immediately said, “my parents” and he said “my parents” I said, “but who do you call after your parents?” And he said, “my brother.” “I know he’ll always pick up,” he added.

I don’t have any siblings, so after I call my parents, I usually call a friend. Lately, I have a lot of time to make phone calls. Armed with my bluetooth headset and a drive that takes anywhere from an hour to two each way, I have a lot of time to chat. Over the last 7 months, I’ve realized that there are some friends whose voicemails I’ve heard more often than their live voices. I certainly understand that schedules conflict, and we’re not always around to chat at the same time, but I’ve started to recognize this absence as a sign of something bigger. A sign of the importance of availability.

I used to think that the people who’ll be there for you are the people you have the most in common with. Or the people you’ve known the longest, or shared the most experiences with. Maybe these are people you grew up with, or people you went to college with. Turns out, these people aren’t always available. They’re busy. Or they have different priorities. And the longer you go hitting their voicemail (and not getting a call back) the more you realize that availability is actually kind of important when it comes to friendship. The more I started thinking about availability, the more I realized that I’ve probably been neglecting certain friendships recently myself. Was I that unavailable friend for any of my friends? The one who never answers her phone, and doesn’t ever call back?

Being a good friend isn’t always about knowing the right thing to say, or being the most fun. As it happens (and as we grow older), it can be just about being there. I’m not saying that that this normal will always be the norm (I’ve had many instances of drifting from friends and then coming back to the same place, together), but I am starting to understand that we’re all moving forward — sometimes together, and sometimes apart.

Recipe for Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika
*serves four

Romano Beans, close, flat-bodied relatives of green beans, are typically in season in the summer, but I’ve been seeing them at farmer’s markets around the Bay Area. Roasting them reminds me of roasting whole, Spring favas. The combination of smoked paprika, fresh lemon zest, and toasted hazelnuts, falls somewhere between Californian, Italian, and Spanish cuisine. If you can still find these beans in your area, you absolutely must give this fast and simple side dish a try.

1 pound of Romano beans
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of hazelnuts

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Trim the ends of the beans and toss them in a medium bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.
2. Line a baking dish with a piece of foil and evenly spread the beans on the foil. Roast the beans for about 20-25 minutes (until they’re tender and begin to wrinkle. A little char is ok).
3. While the beans are roasting, toast the hazelnuts. Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and toss them until they begin to release their aroma (be careful not to burn them). Remove the hazelnuts from the pan and dump them into a clean kitchen towel. Once the nuts have cooled, gently rub them between the towel to remove most of their skins (don’t worry if you miss spots). Then, roughly chop them and set them aside.
4. To serve the beans, place them on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and lemon zest. Season with more sea salt and pepper, if desired.

Musical Pairings: Beck – Orphans + Roasted Romano Beans with Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika

There’s more good stuff on the Turntable.

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