beans, i.e. drying beans, and they’re delicious). Among others. I’ve spent years searching for what I consider to be THE best French green bean aka Haricot Vert. I thought I had it when I found Cook’s Garden Seeds’ French green beans (bush) but didn’t find them there this year. Instead, I got Burpee’s French Filet bean, which, since Burpee bought Cook’s a while back, is probably the same bean. A reliable producer, the slim, tender beans stay slim and tender for several days, even if you miss a day’s picking. And they stay fresh for days in the frig when stuffed dry into a plastic bag and kept in the crisper.
|Haricots verts and shallots in the frying pan|
They’re so delicious done in a host of different ways. The very first handful get eaten right in the garden, because usually I’m out there with the dog before breakfast and I’m hungry, so I forage. Right after that, I bring in the first picked batch and steam them for lunch. I chuck in a little sliced onion and mix up a little dressing of half olive oil mayo and half horseradish. Yummy. For supper, I throw them into a frying pan shimmering with a skim of olive oil and sauté them with a sliced shallot, some halved cherry tomatoes (which are also coming in nicely right now, though the early blight’s gettin’ to ‘em), a smashed and chopped clove of fresh hardneck garlic, some fresh oregano or Cuban basil or both, and salt and pepper. Delicious with any kind of meat. If you’re cooking fish, you can just throw the fish in on top of this veggie concoction when it’s half-cooked, splash in a little white wine and you’ve got dinner in about 15 minutes.
After we’ve eaten beans those three ways, I go on to hunt for new recipes -- or at least creatively (and deliciously of course) try to use up what other potential ingredients I have hanging around in the frig. The other day, I had some leftover slices of prosciutto that I chopped threw into the frying pan along with the beans, tomatoes, shallot and basil. Sort of on the order of old-fashioned beans stewed with a ham hock, but crisper, quicker, healthier (I’m assuming) and MUCH better tasting.
|Filet beans with tomatoes and prosciutto|
This year I got smart and ordered a double batch of bean seeds and plan to get a second batch planted within the next week or so. The bush beans are usually ready to pick at about 55 days or so -- longer more if you plant them now, but still, they’ll produce beans for fall, with some leftover for the freezer. Winter vegetable soups. Haricots verts, French filet beans, green snaps, it doesn’t really matter what you call them. A bean by any other name still tastes just as good.