Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallot Rings

green beans.jpg

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 pound button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Pinch of nutmeg
9 shallots, cut crosswise into ¼-inch rings
½ cup cornstarch, sifted
3/4 cup canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add the green beans. Return to a boil and cook until they are bright green and just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water until completely cooled to stop the cooking process.

3. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cook and stir about 4 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon of the butter and turn the heat to medium high and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown, about 4 minutes more. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. Place the mushroom mixture in a large bowl, add the beans and season with the salt and pepper.

4. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium heat and whisk in the flour, cooking until the flour turns light brown, about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper, remove from the heat and let cool completely. Add to the bean mixture and stir to combine.

5. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and add the bean mixture. Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble at the sides of the pan.

6. While the beans are baking, heat the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium high heat until hot. Toss the shallots with the cornstarch and fry in the oil, turning once, about 2 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy (you will need to do this in batches). Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the shallots, place back in the oven and continue to cook about 5 minutes more, until the casserole is heated through. Serve warm.