Did you know that haircots verts, or little French green beans, come in purple? I didn’t until I found some heirloom French beans at our Farmer’s Market last weekend. The lady I bought them from told me that they have the same texture and taste as a haircots verts except they are purple. They are renowned for tenderness and flavor and their color stands out on the vine.
This is one of those times when I should have done my homework before I attempted to cook something new. I didn’t realize that, like many other purple vegetables, their purple color is only skin deep and will change to green when cooked. You can imagine my surprise when their purple color disappeared as they began to cook. If you want to retain their beautiful color, it is recommended that you serve them raw as part of a vegetable tray.
Nonetheless, this light French bean salad turned out to be a very simple and delicious dish garnished with yellow heirloom pear-shaped tomatoes from our garden and a few red grape tomatoes thrown in for contrast. Heirloom yellow pear-shaped tomatoes are low in acid, delightfully sweet, and are often referred to as “garden candy.”
Green Bean Salad Dressed with a French Vinaigrette
From My Carolina Kitchen
For thin beans and haircots verts Julia Child’s method of cooking is tried and true and never fails me. Julia snaps the ends off the green beans and then plunges them into a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water. Bring the water back to a boil as fast as possible and boil slowly for a few minutes until the bean are tender. Do not walk away while they’re cooking. I taste and test, test, test as I go so I don’t over-cook them. You want a little crunch in the bean. (Julia did not like undercooked vegetables and neither do I.) Their taste should change from raw to sweet and tender when they’re done. Slender haircots verts may take only 3 or 4 minutes to cook. Regular green beans are done in about 6-7 minutes. The secret here, according to Julia, is to use a large amount of water so it will come quickly back to a boil, thus setting the color.
If you are not serving the beans right away, when they’re done plunge them in an ice water bath to retain their color, then drain well.
I dressed my beans with a French vinaigrette and garnished them with grape tomato halves, a little chopped red onion, and slivers of fresh basil. Bon Appétit as Julia would say.
|Purple French Heirloom Beans|
French Vinaigrette – enough for 4 servings
From My Carolina Kitchen
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid and shake well. This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Excellent on mixed green salads.
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