Growing up in middle America—in Tim's case, literally the middle of America—we never questioned the goodness of certain things: Saturday morning cartoons, Mattel toys, Kool-Aid, Velveeta, and Green Bean Casserole, to name a few.
We cherished the casserole (a salty mush of canned beans, mushroom soup, and fried onions, but does anybody really need an explanation?) because it was only served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Only now does it occur to us to wonder why our mothers only made it for those holidays. It can't have been because it was expensive, or difficult to prepare. Maybe it was because the Durkee French Fried Onions were an exotic ingredient for our mothers—cautious cooks who we doubt ever used an entire clove of garlic at one time.
The crunchy, pungent fried onions, of course, were what we loved about the casserole. So imagine our delight when we discovered that Asian markets carry a less-greasy version of the Durkee onions called, sensibly enough, Fried Onions. They make a wonderful garnish for soups and stir fries, and have allowed us to develop a version of Green Bean Casserole that keeps the flavors and eliminates the mush:
1 pound green beans
1 T. olive oil
1 t. (or more to taste) Bragg Liquid Aminos*
1/4 cup, plus 1 T. fried onions (or more to taste)
1. Trim the beans and cut them in half.
2. Heat oil in frying pan, then toss in the beans. (This recipe results in fairly crunchy beans; if you like your beans softer, you can boil them for just a few minutes before frying them.)
3. When the beans are almost ready, add the Bragg, one tablespoon of the fried onions, and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with the fried onions before serving, at any time of the year.
* If you don't have Bragg, you can substitute soy sauce, but use a light hand to avoid oversalting the dish.