This recipe amps up basic grilled green beans by adding a topping full of big flavor. Charring the tomatoes in the sauce and grilling the beans adds a sexy, smoky, entirely addictive, come hither flavor to the vegetables. Be sure to use Roma or sauce tomatoes for the sauce—beefsteaks and slicers turn mushy when grilled and they make the sauce watery.
Grilled Green Beans with Charred Tomato Sauce
1 pound of green beans (two or three great big fistfuls)
Freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 large Roma or sauce tomatoes (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced
Big pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Snap off the tips and stems of each bean and place them into a colander. Wash the beans, shake off excess water and dump them into a large bowl. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the beans, sprinkle on salt and pepper to your liking, and then toss the beans until evenly coated with oil and seasonings.
2. Wash the tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the stem and core. Brush with olive oil. Grill the tomatoes cut side down over low flame (or on the edge of coals, if using a charcoal grill) until they are charred and soft. Remove from the grill. Chop the tomatoes roughly and combine in a bowl with the basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle in a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, grill the beans over low flame (or on the edge of coals, if using a charcoal grill). Be sure to lay the beans crosswise across the grill’s grate to prevent them from falling through. Or, you can completely prevent losing beans through the grate by loading them into a vegetable grilling basket. Place the lid over the grill and let the beans cook. Turn the beans every few minutes to make sure they cook evenly and don’t burn. Remove from the grill when they are tender crisp and slightly charred in a few places (about 8 to 10 minutes).
4. Pile the beans on a platter and spoon the charred tomato sauce over the middle of the beans for an especially pretty presentation.