French string beans - Haricots Verts

FRENCH GREEN BEANS VS. REGULAR GREEN BEANS

I hope we’re all familiar with traditional green beans, with are long, thin, and often sold by the pound or in prepackaged bags simply labeled, “green beans”, at the grocery store.

French green beans (also called Haricots Verts) are slightly longer and skinnier than regular green beans and may be a little bit more expensive. They are harvested earlier then regular green beans, so they are thought to be more tender and more flavorful. You can find them at most grocery stores as well, just look for the label “french green beans” or “haricots verts.”

In my opinion, French green beans look a little bit fancier and you may notice many nicer restaurants use French green beans instead of regular green beans.  Haricots Verts (prounounced “arr-ee-co vair” is the French translation which literally means, “green” (vert) and “bean” (haricot).

WHEN BUYING GREEN BEANS:

  • Check for crispness: green beans should be firm to the point that they would snap in half if you bent them. No one wants to eat a wilty green bean!
  • Check for freshness: Look for beans that are brightly colored and that don’t have brown spots, blemishes, or signs of aging or tears.
  • Uniformity is nice:  As best you can, try to get beans that are similar in size and shape so they cook uniformly.

WHAT’S THE TRICK?

The trick for perfect green beans is to cook them until they are just barely tender (still have a slight crisp), and then seal in their moisture with a fat, like olive oil or butter. In this case we are using butter!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cup water
  • 1 pound French green beans, firm and small
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add beans and water to a large skillet.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until barely tender, but still crisp. About 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add butter to the skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted add the shallots and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add the beans and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  5. Store cooked green beans in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat for a few seconds in the microwave or enjoy cold.  I love to eat them cold on a salad.

Note:

Optional Add-In’s

  • Toated almonds
  • Bacon bits
  • Roasted garlic
  • Diced ham