Kathleen Purvis Q&A

Keep French green beans simple and crunchy

February 5, 2013 

Q: I have found French green beans in a bag at a local supermarket. Can you tell me the best way to prepare them? I like green beans that are a little crunchy.

For these small, thin green beans, actually called haricot vere, French for “bean green,” or filet beans, a little crunchy is the way to go. Don’t overcook them.

There are several simple preparations. Most start with blanching them quickly – less than a minute – in boiling salted water, then dashing in ice water to stop cooking. Then you can toss them with a vinaigrette and serve them cold or saute them quickly. They’re particularly good topped with toasted almonds.

I use an even simpler method: Place the trimmed green beans in a skillet with about 1/4 cup water, 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, maybe a teaspoon of sesame oil and about 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook a few minutes. Then uncover and let the water cook off, leaving the seasoned oil behind. Toss them for a minute or two, then serve.

Email questions about food and cooking to Kathleen Purvis at kpurvis@charlotteobserver.com.

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