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.