The coconut-chili mixture that absolutely smothers these green beans is an ode to one of the greatest condiments I’ve ever had in my life, Filipino palapa. I first tasted it when Tom Cunanan, former chef at Bad Saint restaurant in Washington, D.C., came to the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen years ago. He brought an arsenal of homemade Filipino condiments, but the coconut palapa stole my heart. It was absolutely everything and then some – sweet, sticky, spicy, salty and crunchy – and we ate it on eggs, salads, grilled fish and even ice cream. My take is a decidedly lazier and less authentic version (I sadly don’t have the tools to grate the flesh of a fresh coconut), but it brings me close enough to the memory of Tom’s. –Molly Baz
Molly Baz's Spicy Coconut Green Beans
- 1½ inch piece ginger coarsely chopped
- 1 medium shallot coarsely chopped
- 2 Fresno chilies or small jalapenos seeded, coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- ⅔ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- neutral oil canola or vegetable
- 2 limes zested and juiced, divided
- pinch kosher salt approx.
- neutral oil such as canola or vegetable
- 1¼ lb green beans trimmed
- ½ tsp kosher salt approx
- ¼ cup roasted salted peanuts finely chopped
- Add ginger, shallot, chilies and garlic to food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
- In large non-stick skillet, toast shredded coconut over medium heat, stirring until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Push coconut to edge of pan.
- Add a couple big glugs of oil to centre of pan; scrape in ginger mixture and cook, stirring often, until moisture has cooked off, mixture looks jammy and edges begin to turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir coconut into ginger mixture. Stir in lime zest, then season with salt and set aside.
- Heat large cast-iron skillet over high heat. YES! HIGH! We want to blister these babies! Add a few very generous glugs of oil, and wait until you see wisps of smoke from the pan. Add green beans, season well with salt and toss with tongs to coat in oil. Cook, tossing every 2 to 3 minutes, until blistered, charred in places and shrivelled, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Remove from heat; stir in coconut mixture and chopped peanuts. Sprinkle lime juice over green beans and taste, adding more salt if needed. Pile high and serve!