12 garlic cloves , peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 pounds green beans , trimmed
3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons wine vinegar (see note)
Salt and pepper
1. Microwave garlic, oil, and sugar, uncovered, in small microwave-safe bowl until garlic is softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Carefully transfer 1 tablespoon oil from garlic mixture to large nonstick skillet. Reserve remaining garlic mixture.
2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Add green beans and water and cook, covered, until bright green, about 3 minutes. Add reserved garlic mixture to pan; do not stir. Continue to cook, covered, until beans are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are browned in spots and garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Roasting garlic tames its bite and intensifies its sweet flavor; unfortunately, it also takes about an hour. For a simple green-bean side dish, we wanted to find a faster way to achieve the nutty flavor and buttery texture of roasted garlic. Here’s what we discovered:
Test Kitchen Discoveries
Instead of oven-roasting the garlic, we microwaved a dozen sliced cloves with oil and sugar. The garlic achieved a creamy texture quickly, and the added sugar helped promote its caramelization. Allowing the softened garlic and steamed green beans to brown together in a skillet gave us perfectly cooked beans studded with soft, nutty, “roasted” garlic flavor—in about ten minutes.