Caraway Green Beans

Toddler, Kid, Adult

Caraway may seem less familiar to us in the West but you have probably had it in Rye bread and the German delicacy Sauerkraut (or pickled cabbage). In Eastern Europe, caraway's medicinal powers are thought to be able to "cure every disease but death"! It's used as a digestive aid, to treat skin and respiratory infections, headaches and toothaches. There is emerging clinical evidence for it's ability to regulate the thyroid gland and endocrine systems. Here, it enlivens simple green beans in a unique and delicious flavor profile that complements any meat or fish main dish nicely. We chopped up the beans for the kiddos but you can leave them long with ends trimmed for a prettier effect and interesting finger food for more adventurous tots.

Generously serves 4 as a side dish

1 lb French green beans (haricots verts) both ends trimmed
Water for blanching the beans 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil and add a generous spoonful of sea salt. Add the green beans and blanche by boiling for just over a minute for crisp beans or longer for softer ones (if your kids, like mine, prefer them less crunchy). Transfer the beans to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking and retain freshness. Once cool, drain and dry the beans with a dish towel. 

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium flame until warm but not smoking. Add the caraway seeds and sauté until they start popping a bit but not burning, about 1-2 minutes. Add the green beans and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until the beans are coated with the caraway seeds and oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve. 

Note: If your kids don't love the texture of the seeds in their mouth, you can add the seeds to the oil on a very low flame and let the flavor infuse the oil for about 5 minutes. Drain the oil into a fresh pan through a sieve that can filter out the seeds. Use the flavored oil to cook the beans. You can also puree the beans with a little water or cooked carrots for a tasty baby veggie side. 

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