There is a popular recipe for Spicy, Garlicy Cashew Chicken that appeared in the NYT. Basically, the recipe calls for marinating and then grilling chicken in a paste of cashews, lime, jalapeno pepper, oil, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar. I made the recipe (using boneless dark meat chicken), and the cashew paste very much reminded me of coated kale chips.
I got the idea of using the sauce to make vegetable skewers using broccoli and red pepper. I parboiled broccoli, tossed it with olive oil and salt and pepper and then coated it with the cashew paste. The broccoli was then grilled (I used a George Foreman grill). The results were fantastic. The nut mixture got crisp in spots and remained soft in spots. It added the kind of varied texture and savory intensity to the broccoli that a cheese topping usually does.
Anyway . . . . fast forward to this week. I ask my husband if he would like the cashew sauce on grilled green beans and he said “YES!” before I could even finish my sentence. This cashew sauce inspires that kind of enthusiasm.
Note: I grilled the green beans, but I think roasting the green beans would also work.
Garlicy Cashew Sauce for Grilled Green Beans or Broccoli (or Chicken)
Adapted from the NYT recipe for Spicy, Garlicy Cashew Chicken.
1 cup salted roasted cashews
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I left this out)
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional: I tasted the sauce without the sugar and it doesn’t make that much difference in the taste)
1 jalapeno peppers, seeded, white veins removed (the white veins and seeds carry a lot of the pepper’s heat), chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. green beans or broccoli (or 2 lbs. boneless chicken or 3 pounds chicken thighs and/or drumsticks)
Puree the cashews, oil, garlic, soy sauce; jalapeno, lime and water in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and add brown sugar if desired.
If making the green beans or broccoli, par-boil the vegetables for four minutes, then drain, rinse until the vegetables are cool and then dry the vegetables well. Drain the broccoli especially well to make sure there is no water in the florets. Toss the broccoli with oil and salt and pepper to taste before coating with the nut paste. If making green beans, just toss the par-boiled green beans with the nut paste.
(If you are making the chicken, marinate the chicken with the sauce before grilling. You can marinate for just a short amount of time, or you can keep the chicken marinating in the fridge overnight).
Heat the grill and grill the vegetables until the nut mixture crisps and turns golden (If you are making chicken, of course, you have to cook the chicken until it is cooked through.) I used a George Foreman grill, but you could also use a grill pan or roast the vegetables in the oven.