Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck knows how to get diners’ attention. At the Source, his Asian-accented eatery adjacent to the Newseum, executive chef Scott Drewno trumpets the start of a meal not with a bread basket but with an amuse-bouche of Szechuan-style green beans. Here’s how to make them.
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Szechuan Green Beans
Prepare the dressing:
¼ cup sweet soy sauce (Drewno recommends Maggi brand)
1 tablespoon Szechuan chili sauce
1 tablespoon ginger vinegar (available at Asian supermarkets; rice vinegar may be substituted)
1 ounce peanut oil
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Candy the walnuts:
¼ cup walnuts
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 quart peanut oil
In a small pot, bring the water to a boil and blanch the walnuts until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the water, and while the nuts are still hot, add the powdered sugar. Coat the walnuts until the sugar is dissolved completely, giving the walnuts a glossy look and making sure no sugar lumps remain.
Heat the oil in a pot or fryer to 325 degrees and fry the sugar-coated walnuts until they turn a light golden brown. Remove from the oil and set aside.
Make the green beans:
1 cup green beans
2 tablespoons peanut oil
¼ cup candied walnuts, lightly crumbled
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion
2 teaspoons mixed black and white sesame seeds, toasted
¼ cup dressing
Pinch ground Szechuan pepper
Pinch kosher salt
Prepare the green beans:
Stir-fry the green beans with the peanut oil in a wok over high heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Place the beans on cooling rack and season with the Szechuan pepper, salt, and sugar. While they’re still warm, toss the beans with ¼ cup of the dressing. Garnish the beans with the walnuts, scallion, and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
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