Forgive me if a post on how to cook fresh green beans seems elementary, but I had never cooked fresh green beans in my life until a few months ago. (See also: How to Cook Fresh Brussels Sprouts)
Now I can't stop making them, and Jordan swears he could eat green beans every single night. That's a recommendation if I ever heard one. Cooking fresh green beans is so easy and so delicious, I just can't believe I haven't started making them sooner.
Here's the best way I've found to cook the most delicious fresh green beans! (Recipe adapted from my mother-in-law.)
First things first: don't buy the green beans in a can. Just don't do it. Buy the real green beans from the actual produce section. You can buy the actual real green beans from a farmer's market or land of good and plenty such as Whole Foods, or you can get a bag that feeds 2-3 people for less than $3. Or a giant bag of green beans that will fill a family for $6. (If you get a giant bag and you're only one or two people, just toss the rest in the freezer until you're ready to cook them!)
(The reason you boil them first, as I learned from my mother-in-law, is that if you haven't, cooking in a skillet alone takes a long time. It's a similar idea to boiling potatoes or carrots before putting them in a stew. And since you aren't using salt or anything else, you don't really even need to wash the pot after you're done with it, so the cleanup is easy.)
While the green beans are boiling, heat up a large skillet with some olive oil. Just enough to help the beans to not stick to the bottom of the pan, maybe 1 tablespoon. You can use butter too, if you want. Or both.
When the green beans are starting to get tender in the water, drain them and add them to the hot skillet. Sprinkle on kosher salt (you can use regular salt, but it will not be as good, trust me), fresh-ground black pepper (again, you can use regular pepper, but it won't be as good), and some garlic salt. I don't have measurements; just eyeball it. Trust your Jedi instincts.
*Note: this would also be a good time to add in onion power, garlic powder, crushed fresh garlic, chopped onion, bacon, or any other spice your heart desires. We like our beans simple with salt, pepper, and garlic, but feel free to get adventurous.
Mix well and then cover the skillet and let the fresh green beans steam for a few minutes. Turn every so often until they begin to turn brown. This process should take no more than 10-12 minutes, depending on how many beans you're cooking and how hot the skillet is. (You also don't need to steam them if you don't have a skillet with a lid.)
When you think they're done, try one just to make sure. The green beans should be tender, limp almost, and a bit charred on some sides. And oh so deliciously salty.
Serve as a side with any meal! This is what I served it with most recently:
-chicken marinated in a teriyaki/garlic sauce (& cooked on my electric George Foreman grill)
-long grain & wild rice a roni
-Pioneer Woman's crash hot potatoes
These fresh green beans would also go great with my recipe for pork chops & stuffing!