In a life full of crazy cooking ideas this was one of the wackiest, but these sugary vegetables have proven popular for a reason: they’re crazy delicious. Don’t knock them until you try them…at which point you just may knock back the entire bowl.
In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, combine the water, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the green beans, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar water begins to reduce, 7 to 9 minutes.
Uncover and continue to cook, tossing the beans, until the sugar reduces to a very light syrup and the beans are no longer crisp but somehow miraculously aren’t mushy, making sure it doesn’t burn (add a splash of water if necessary), 7 to 9 minutes.
Transfer to a serving dish and top with the butter and pepper. Season with more salt to taste.