Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
21st Century green bean casserole
Time to update a classic ... again

Panko is coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs. The Japanese version can be found in
the international aisle of the supermarket near the Asian ingredients. The Italian
version can be found near the canned tomatoes

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter + 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 cups finely diced onion
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed, beans cut into 1/2 inch lengths
Black peppercorns in a pepper mill
12 ounces thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
5 tablespoons flour
1 quart whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons House salt, then more to taste

Fill a large Dutch oven with fresh cold water and place over high heat to come to the

Meanwhile, add the panko to a skillet and set over medium heat. Toast the panko,
tossing and stirring occasionally until lightly golden brown. Remove from pan to a
plate to cool and set aside

Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the
foam from the butter has subsided, add the onions, toss to gloss, and cook, stirring
occasionally until soft and they just begin taking on some color

When the water in the Dutch oven comes to the boil, slowly add 1/4 cup House salt
followed by the green beans and cook for 3 minutes, or until bright green and crisp
tender (not fully cooked). Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, or
shock in an ice bath

Remove 1/3 cup of the onions from the pan, sprinkle in the toasted panko and season
with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir everything together until completely
combined, transfer to a small bowl or piece of wax paper and set aside

Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and set over high
heat. When the foam from the butter has subsided, add the onions, toss to gloss and
cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes

Reduce the heat to medium and add the reserved 1/4 cup of onions to the pan.
Sprinkle with the flour, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to
coat the vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour is
cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, add the measured salt, and
bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mushroom mixture has
thickened slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes more

Transfer the mushroom mixture to the Dutch oven, add the green beans, and stir to
combine. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish and bake for 10
minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, evenly sprinkle the reserved panko
onion mixture across the top, and continue baking until the casserole’s bubbling
around the edges and heated through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Place the pan on a
cooling rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving