How to Prepare French Green Beans

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This year I planted the Tavera variety of haricot verts, French stringless green beans. The plan is to have enough to sell, but the seeds planted at the farm were mostly washed away in an April deluge. About half a row is left there, while I have about 20 plants in my backyard garden, which have just started to produce.

Yesterday, I gathered about half a pound and prepared them by blanching, then sautéeing in butter with onions, French breakfast radishes, mushrooms and herbs. Most delicious and I thought I’d share here:

Step One: I started by washing the beans and breaking off the stem on the vine end.

Fresh haricot verts, French breakfast radishes, mushrooms, red onion and herbs

 Step Two: Blanch the beans in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Blanching is just briefly boiling the beans and then removing and placing directly into a bowl of ice water to get an immediate chill. The effect is to cook lightly, but preserve the beautiful green color. While the beans were boiling, I sliced up the mushrooms and radishes and chopped some red onion.

Blanching haricot verts

Sliced mushrooms, radishes, onions and pecan pieces

 Step Three: While the beans are cooling in the ice water, after the quick boil, I sautéed the mushrooms, about 1/4 cup of chopped red onion and two sliced French breakfast radishes in one tablespoon of butter. Cooking time is about 2 minutes on medium. I let the butter melt and pan get hot before I added the vegetables.

Haricot verts in ice water

Sauteeing onions, radishes and mushrooms

Step Four: Add the green beans and a handful of pecan pieces. The pecans are optional. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Add a bit more butter, if necessary. At this point, I also threw in a few leaves of fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary from my backyard garden. The combination of herbs can vary, based on what you have on hand. Stir frequently.

Adding the haricot verts and pecans

Step Five: Remove and serve. You can serve the haricot verts warm or cold. Add salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste. I didn’t see the need for salt.

Haricot verts: Lightly sauteed with herbs, onions, radishes and pecans

For this simple lunch, I also had two varieties of baked fresh zucchini to have a taste-off. More on the zucchini at Shine Springs Farm website. In short, both were equally tasty, but the Ronde de Nice round zucchini had a richer, buttery taste that was especially enjoyable.

Haricot verts, baked zucchini (two varieties) and Mountain Princess tomato

What’s especially delightful about this approach to cooking is that the beans are crispy, with all the flavor sealed into the bean through the rapid blanching and minimal cooking. These are not your banquet-variety, overcooked, soggy boring green beans.

My version of sauteed haricot verts is based on this recipe by Elise Bauer.

How do you prepare French green beans?

About Sheree

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