Green Beans With Mustard Cream Sauce and Toasted Almonds is my answer to classic green bean casserole. The vegetables and sauce can be made in the morning. Before serving, heat them together and sprinkle with almonds.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen pearl onions or small whole white onions
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and snapped into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted until fragrant in a 325-degree oven (10 minutes or less)
- Heat 2 Tbs. of butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute, shaking pan occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Dump onions onto a large cookie sheet. Add green beans, 3/4 cup water and a scant teaspoon salt to the unwashed skillet. Turn heat to high; cover and cook until wisps of steam escape around the lid. Set timer for 5 minutes; cook until bright green but tender.
- Drain beans; transfer to cookie sheet with onions and spread out to cool. (Cooled vegetables can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature up to 4 hours ahead.)
- Microwave milk, chicken broth and mustard in a 1-quart Pyrex-type measuring cup until steamy. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. of butter in the skillet. Whisk in flour, then hot milk mixture, until smooth and simmering. (Sauce can be made up to 4 hours ahead: Cover surface directly with plastic wrap, to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate; return to a simmer before proceeding.)
- Add beans and onions; simmer until sauce is thick enough to cling, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve immediately.