Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sweet and Crunchy Sautéed Haricots Verts

Sautéed Green Beans  (Haricots Verts)

Haricots Verts are thin, mostly straight, French Green Beans. Not to be confused with the French cut Green Bean. The French Cut is done to make the thicker Green Bean resemble the slimmer Haricot Vert.

I love Green Beans. When they’re absolutely fresh I love to eat them uncooked. The snap along with their sweet, well... green flavor is something I look forward to every summer. But during the rest of the year when they aren’t farm fresh they need some help to maintain my high opinion. In fact, most vegetable side dishes can benefit from a little kicker to elevate them from their sometimes lowly place on the table.

Green Beans behave well with quick cooking methods that let them retain their original crunch, even more so with the slender Haricot Vert. A quick bath in rapidly boiling water sets their brilliant color and cooks them just enough to move beyond the realm of salad fixin’. The real magic begins when we finish them with a quick sauté and add another kind of crunch.

Sweet and Crunchy Sautéed Haricots Verts
Serves: 4     Total Time: 45 Minutes


• ¼ Cup Pine Nuts
• 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
• 1 to 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
• 1 Pound Fresh Haricots Verts or Green Beans that are trimmed and French Cut
• 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
• Kosher Salt
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Toast the Pine Nuts in a medium fry pan over medium heat, shaking often, until just fragrant and lightly browned then remove from pan and set aside.

Step 2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the Butter in the same pan over medium heat watching carefully as it begins to bubble. Continue to cook the butter, stirring occasionally until the milk solids that float to the top and settle to the bottom begin to color and give off a nutty aroma. Turn off the heat and CAREFULLY stir in the first teaspoon of Lemon Juice to stop the browning process. Add the second teaspoon if the butter continues to sizzle. Remove from the stovetop and set aside.

Step 3. Fill a large stock pot with generously salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Drop all of the Haricot Verts into the boiling water for 2 minutes just to cook slightly and set the color. Immediately drain the beans and toss in a colander to remove excess water.

Step 4. Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the Olive Oil and melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of Butter into the Olive Oil.

Step 5. Add the Haricot Verts and sauté for one minute just to heat through. Season to taste with the Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the Brown Butter and sprinkle with the toasted Pine Nuts.

Tips and Trending

~ I like to use Haricots Verts anytime I’m serving Green Beans by themselves. They are available most of the year, prepackaged in 1 & 2 pound portions. Prepackaging provides a more consistent length of each bean and the beans usually require no trimming.

Sautéed Green Beans  (Haricots Verts)
~ The cooking method here is different from blanching because we don’t work in small batches to keep the water continuously boiling and we do not remove the vegetables to an ice water bath to immediately stop the cooking process. We want the beans to heat rapidly in the boiling water and, by draining alone, continue to cook with their own residual heat until we quickly sauté them.

~ Brown Butter is a decadent accompaniment that imparts a slightly sweet flavor and aroma, reminiscent of butter cookies, to whatever it is added. Try it on any mild poached fish or as a substitute for Extra Virgin Olive Oil on plain pasta. Care must be taken to stop the browning process at just the right time before it becomes Black Butter and totally useless.

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