You were probably wondering why I started the week with mango salsa. Sure you were. I had some nice Mahi Mahi in the fridge and there was all that nice fresh fruit and produce at the outdoor market. This will entry completes the dinner I made on Sunday to go with the mangoes.
Green beans are 89 to 99 cents a pound this time of year so we eat a lot of them. The secret to good green beans is to never overcook them. There is a reason they are not called dull gray beans.
Here's how I make green bean bundles. Trim and string the beans if needed. I don't like stubby green beans so I rarely cut them in half. As everyone knows, size matters. So prep those green beans and cut two slices off a small colorful sweet pepper. This week, I had red, orange and yellow peppers on hand. Peppers of a smaller girth work best since otherwise, you will have a huge mound of green beans. Again, size matters.
Put about an inch of water in your green bean pot. Turn it to high and add some salt, about a teaspoon of sugar and to give those beans a lovely flavor, a half teaspoon or so of fennel seed. Crush it up in your hands by rubbing them togrether as you drop the fennel seeds in the rapidly heating water, mashing up the seed a little bit or at least, bruising them. Fennel seeds have a light, sweet almost licorice flavor.
When the water gets to a boil, drop in the beans. I'll share my mother's veggie rule: Drop veggies that grow above ground into already boiling water -- bring veggies that grow below ground to a boil in the pot. Don't start underground veggies in boiling water and don't start above ground veggies in cold water. This rule works pretty well for most vegetables.
Back to the stove: Bring the green beans back up to a boil, then adjust the heat to medium high and cook for about 5 minutes. You want them tender but bright green. Test them with a fork until done to your satisfaction. About a minute before the beans are done, drop in the pepper rings to soften them so they are pliable. They can just sit there on top of the beans 30 seconds or so and get steamed. Fish out the pepper rings with your fork and set aside to cool. Remove the beans, drain them and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and when cool enough to handle, they are ready to bundle.
Just slip the green beans into the softened, blanched pepper rings. You can do this in advance of serving your meal so get them ready and at the last minute, you can nuke them quickly and brush them with a bit of butter so they glisten. Move warm bundles to serving plates with a spatula.
Dinner comes together when you grill, broil or steam some Mahi. Mahi is the name given dolphin, the fish, not the mammal. After so many people thought they were eating Flipper instead of a cold-blooded sport fish, the restaurant industry got together and decided to call it something else so diners didn't freak! Anyway, I topped the fish with both sweet mango garnish and the hot mango salsa since we couldn't decide which we wanted. Both were great but DH likes the hot salsa better. Add some roasted potatoes and your green bean bundles and you have a healthy and delicious dinner. Everything can be made ahead except the fish. Easy as pie.