1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans; cook 5 minutes. Plunge beans into ice water; drain.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil; swirl until butter melts. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Remove garlic; set aside. Add beans; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Top with garlic.
SESAME-SOY variation: Prepare beans through step 1. Heat 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; sauté 30 seconds. Add beans, 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds. Yield: 4 servings.
CALORIES 72; FAT 3.8g (sat 0.5g); SODIUM 214mg
CITRUS-NUT variation: Prepare green beans through step 1. Combine beans, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; toss. Combine 2 tablespoons finely chopped blanched hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind, and 1 minced garlic clove; sprinkle over beans. Yield: 4 servings. CALORIES 90; FAT 5.7g (sat 0.7g); SODIUM 156mg
PEPPERY BACON variation: Prepare green beans through step 1. Cook 2 chopped bacon slices in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Add 2 tablespoons chopped shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add beans; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 minutes. Top with bacon. Yield: 4 servings.
CALORIES 76; FAT 3.6g (sat 1.3g); SODIUM 231mg