Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

“Haricots verts” means “green beans” in French. But when we say haricots verts here in the U.S., we’re referring to very thin green beans. They’re usually a lot more expensive than regular green beans. My supermarket sells them in little 8 ounce bags in the refrigerated case alongside the bags of salad and pre-cut vegetables.

Once again, I didn’t have any firm ideas about a vegetable for dinner. Even though it was 100 degrees out we were having beef stew from the freezer for dinner. I made it in the spring for just this kind of emergency night. I had a crazy day and still had to pack for a road trip to my cousin’s wedding weekend on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Dinner had to be a quick brainless affair. I picked up two hefty sweet potatoes to cook in the microwave – 12 minutes, done! – but still needed a veg.

Well, you know how I love a bargain. I noticed deep-discount price stickers on the packages of haricots verts. Jackpot! An 8 ounce bag for only 70 cents. But you don’t need fancy French beans for this dish, regular ol’ green beans will work just fine.

This recipe will take your kitchen to France — butter, shallots and tomatoes all blending together in such goodness. We gobbled the beans up. Perhaps a little too sophisticated for my hearty peasant beef stew, but it worked. These beans would be fantastic with fish or a light chicken dish, especially simply prepared ones with lemon and/or breadcrumbs. Add a crispy glass of sauvignon blanc, ahhh….

french green beans shallots tomatoes recipe

Haricots Verts with Shallots

You’ll need a pot with lid, bowl for ice bath and colander.

  • 1/2 pound of haricots verts or regular green beans, ends snipped off
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 small shallots, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomato

Put a pot of well-salted water on high heat. Prepare an ice bath – a bowl large enough for the beans, lots of ice and water. Add beans to the boiling water. Boil for 3-1/2 minutes. Immediately drain beans in a colander and then put them into the ice bath. When they’re cooled down, drain them again.

In the same empty pot melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until they’re just translucent, not browned, about 1-2 minutes. Add the drained and cooled beans, tomatoes and the other tablespoon of butter. Reheat the beans in the butter and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Original recipe: Haricot Vert with Shallots, Smitten Kitchen

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