Serves 4.   Published November 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

This recipe yields crisp-tender beans. If you prefer a slightly more tender texture (or you are using large, tough beans), increase the water by a tablespoon and increase the covered cooking time by 1 minute. To serve 6, increase all of the ingredients by half and increase the covered cooking time by 1 to 2 minutes. Do not attempt to cook more than 1 1/2 pounds of green beans with this method.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound green beans , stem ends snapped off, beans cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Combine butter, garlic, and thyme in small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add beans, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water, cover, and cook until beans are bright green and still crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high, and cook until water evaporates, 30 to 60 seconds. Add butter mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until beans are crisp-tender, lightly browned, and beginning to wrinkle, 1 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer beans to serving bowl, toss with lemon juice and parsley; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.