FRENCH GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON (haricots verts, for six)

21j1. Vegetables, beans, French, blanched, with lemon 1 21j2. Vegetables, beans, French, blanched, with lemon 2

6 to 8 quarts rapidly boiling salted water (1–1/2 teaspoons salt per quart of water)

1-1/2 pounds French beans, washed, drained, ends snapped off

2 or 3 trays of ice cubes (optional)

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons softened butter

2 tablespoons minced parsley

a squeeze of lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

1.  Drop the beans into the rapidly boiling water. Cover briefly, to bring the water quickly back to a boil, then immediately remove the cover.  (The secret to cooking green beans so that they retain their bright color and crisp texture is to blanch them in a very large amount of rapidly boiling water – the more water per bean the quicker the water will return to a boil, and the greener and fresher the cooked bean will be).

2.  Boil uncovered until the beans are just cooked through but retain a slight crunch of texture –4 to 5 minutes.  Test by eating several.

3.  Drain the beans immediately when they are done and, if you are not serving immediately, run them under cold water or plunge into a basin filled with ice cubes and water.  (Refreshing the beans in cold water – ice water if possible – stops the cooking so that they retain their color and texture.  Chilled beans keep well for a few hours).

4.  Just before serving, turn the beans into a large skillet and toss over moderately high heat for a moment to evaporate any excess moisture.  Then toss them with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper, and several tablespoons of softened butter.  Finish it off, if you wish, with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and the finely grated lemon zest.  Serve immediately.

 Serve with:

Sauteed chicken cutlets with tarragon

Baked halibut fillet with garlic sauce


adapted from Julia Child, The Way to Cook

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