The combination of the salty bacon and tangy lemon make this a wonderful side dish. The lemony flavor is refreshingly light and is not overpowering. If you do not like beans al dente, I would recommend that you skip this recipe.

4 thick bacon slices (4 ounces uncooked), cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound young green beans, trimmed
2 to 4 tablespoons water
Zest of 1 large lemon
Grated lemon peel of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon pepper (optional)
Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put beans into boiling water for 2-3 minutes (or longer if you prefer mushy overcooked beans). Immediately submerge beans in ice water to refresh their color.
  2. In a medium-heavy skillet, cook the bacon pieces over low to medium-low heat, turning as needed to achieve uniform crispness. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Pour off the bacon drippings into a small bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet.
  3. In the same skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, add the green beans and toss in the drippings until coated. Sauté, stirring frequently, adding 1 tablespoon water at a time to keep the beans moist and prevent them from browning. Cook until just tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the beans with the bacon, the grated lemon peel, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss and sauté for 30 seconds. Season with lemon pepper or salt and black pepper to taste, and serve.

Serves four.

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