tonight for dinner, i decided to try out a recipe i’d seen on smitten kitchen a few days ago. last weekend, at the farmer’s market, one of the vendors was selling haricot vert (or is it haricots verts if there is more than one bean? i really know zero french, so please forgive me if my french grammar has issues) and beautiful heirloom tomatoes (must have a greenhouse–it’s waaaaay too early for tomatoes up here.). then, i saw this great recipe. it’s very simple. just some of these long french green beans, shallots, a little butter, salt, pepper and a squeeze lemon. i added a little canned tuna and a few olives to make it feel more like a meal and less like a side dish, but it would have been just fine without. the beans were so long–some were probably 8 or 9 inches! and smitten kitchen’s right about the cooking time. i boiled mine for 4 minutes (she recommends 3.5 but the timer on my oven doesn’t do fractions of minutes and i like my beans slightly over-cooked*) and they were perfect! really quite tasty. the lemon adds a really nice touch. the best part? since beans and tomatoes aren’t even truly in season yet, i have a long time to enjoy this dish all summer long.
*i don’t know why everyone thinks that green beans need to retain their crispness in order to be good. i used to think i didn’t really like green beans (especially when they squeak in your teeth), but then i ate them once at a restaurant in paris. they were soft and delicious and perfectly salted and i just loved them and i realized that the key to enjoying green beans (at least for me) is to cook them until they are no longer crisp or squeaky. maybe it’s the difference between a green bean and a haricot vert?