Dueling Dishes: Green Beans. Capital Seafood vs. Jamillah Garden
The title for this new feature in Stick a Fork In It should be self explanatory. Each week, we'll try a dish, either deliberately or randomly, which may or may not be a signature item of the place from where we choose to try them, and then compare them against each other, concluding with what we think is the better dish.
This week's duelers: Dry fried green beans from Capital Seafood in Irvine versus those from Jamillah Garden in Tustin
Why? Well because the dish is a personal favorite of mine -- one
that I can actually make myself with some degree of success. Even
still, I order it in Chinese restaurants whenever it's offered. The
secret in making it right is in the first and crucial step: a quick
blanch in oil. This blisters the bean's outer skin and makes it easier
to digest. The operative word here is "quick", because if the beans
stay in the oil too long, you lose the fresh, snappy, crunchiness that
is its soul. After that, it's stir fried in a wok. Seasonings and other
ingredients are tossed in, which can vary from the plain (salt and
garlic), to the elaborate (some sort of ground meat).
At Irvine's Capital Seafood's Express counter, the pods ($8.70) are available as a take-out item -- ready-to-be-packed as part of a combo, or a la carte. They were properly crunchy, with that requisite snap. You can hear the crunch when you bite, like it was just picked off the plant. The dish's flavoring, which is slightly under the radar until you encounter a burst of peppercorn, is secondary to texture.
So the winner this week? Capital Seafood.
Check back next week for another episode of Dueling Dishes!