Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Purple French Heirloom Beans


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.

I am linking this to Garden Tuesday and Fresh Food Friday. Slip on over and see what's growing in other gardens on Sidewalk Shoes and all of the great food featured on La Bella Vita..


43 comments:

  1. Those beans are fabulous and your salad is wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I didn't know haricot vert came in a purple variety, I will have to keep my eyes open. I love the simplicity of this recipe. My philosophy if your ingredients are good on their own, you really don't have to do much. Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing

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  3. A a wolf in sheep's clothing:)
    I wish they could stay the same color! So pretty..but they have to be great regardless of their change of color:)

    I saw purple sweet peppers ..they looked so delicious too..
    Thanks for sharing sam.

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  4. I imagine your surprise at seeing the purple turn into green. Their green is very intense, though, isn't it? The salad looks oh so delicious!

    Here in Europe I am always warned not to eat haricots raw (I don't like them raw anyway).

    I used to buy purple heirloom beans from a lady at a farmers market in DC. Both she and her husband were retired and were tending a small organic farm as a second career. They specialized in heirloom vegetables from Italy and France.

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  5. It's still a beautiful salad even though the beans turned green. I've never seen purple haricot verts. I've served most of our green beans in salads similar to yours this summer. Plenty of time to have them as a hot dish this fall.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  6. I've never seen those beans so I will see if I can find them at my market. I probably would not have known how to use a purple bean. Thanks for the recipe, it looks delicious.

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  7. What a coinsidence! I was at the garden center yesterday looking for fall seeds to plant, peas, lettuce etc and I saw a packet of the purple french beans and almost bought them!

    Your salad sounds delicious!

    Did you see the dinner I made for Penny and David a few weeks back?

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  8. What a timely post; I saw those purple beans this week-end had to buy and try them...of course you are right surprise to me...they turned green.
    I really really don't like undercooked beans the way so many chefs prepare them; happy to read you feel the same way. Love your recipe and will be on my menu soon.
    Rita

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  9. Hi Sam,

    Your Purple French Heirloom Beans look delicious! Thank you for sharing your French Vinaigrette dressing. It is going right into my recipe box :-)

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  10. Absolutely gorgeous salad! I learned that about purple green beans last year too. Though, they do keep their color when roasted.

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  11. Wow, they are lovely beans. I'd buy them in a heartbeat if I ever came across them.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  12. What a beautiful presentation, Sam. I haven't seen this purple variety at the market and am looking forward to asking about it this Saturday. The beans pair perfectly with sweet little tomatoes. Lovely photos too.

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  13. I just read recently, somewhere[!], that the purple veggies are 'better' for you than the green ones!?

    Well, they look cool anyhow...until they are cooked green ;)

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  14. I was saddended when they turned into a regulat green colour too, but they are definitely worth finding.

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  15. Even if they turn green when they're cooked, I think they would be great fun to grow. I bet they'd be easier to find on the plants when you're picking them too.

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  16. I had no idea you could find them in purple, either. How interesting. And the salad looks delicious. Thanks for the vinaigrette recipe - it sounds lovely.

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  17. I love those purple beans ;-)) still look very pretty after turning into green. The salad looks so pretty and appetizing.

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  18. I recently came across purple asparagus and was disappointed that they changed color when they hit the heat. You're right, better left raw.

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  19. Their green cooked color looks a little deeper green to me but yes, sad they don't stay purple. There's a little French bistro here that cooks their green beans perfectly - not too soft and not too crunchy. Thanks for the cooking tips.

    What a lovely, summer salad!

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  20. Well, I've had purple peppers and purple potatoes - but have yet to find purple beans. Maybe this summer... maybe I saw them and didn't know they were real!

    I'm with you and Julia - my beans need some crunch or what's the purpose? Beautifully done!

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  21. I'm loving fresh beans from my garden but next year I will look for the purple variety. So much more interesting. Thanks for the tip.

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  22. What an exquisitely simple summer dish... I am going to make is as soon as the first crop of tomatoes comes through (it's early spring here in South Africa).
    Thank you for consistent inspiration!

    Robyn x

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  23. Oh, that purple is stunning! Too bad the color is not retained when cooked! But it's still such a beautiful salad...love the simplicity!

    PS...I had to giggle at your comment about letting your guests torch their own creme brulees...it paints such a funny picture :)

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  24. I have yet to see purple beans this summer - and like you, I used to turn them green! Now, they're a favorite raw snack.

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  25. I have never seen purple ones before. They look so cute and the perfect update on the typical bean side dish! I love this idea

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  26. i didn't know they came in purple, but i am finding so many veggies at farmer's market in purple lately, that now I am on a mission to find them. Haircot verts are my all time favorite and not so easy to find here. Can't wait to try the pruple variety.

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  27. Look beautifil Sam, love the colours! gloria

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  28. This made my mouth water as the photo loaded onto my screen... Please come to my house and just be my salad-maker for a week or two... pretty please? This is wonderful and helps me plan out my meals when I visit your blog!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  29. I never saw purple haricot verts! Now I know to leave them raw if I do find them ,,good tip!

    Your salad looks wonderful! I grew the small yellow heirloom tomatoes last summer and missed them this year.

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  30. We make a similar salad -- though not with the purple beans. Delicious!

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  31. something I have not tasted before~All excited to find some now!

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  32. The purple beans add a wonderful funky look to the plate - I'm sure they taste delicious!
    Have a wonderful day Sam!

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  33. Purple.....didn't know that! Gorgeous color! Too bad they turn green. Your pictures are fabulous and the salad looks wonderful:)

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  34. I've never seen purple French beans before, very neat. Your salad sounds excellent!

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  35. I got some of these same beans this year but I found out before I cooked them about their fading color. So I had fun with it and told Trevor that they were magic beans!

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  36. Those tricky beans...ha ha ha! They are beautiful in either form, but the purple is definitely stunning. And paired with the beautiful tomatoes, it's a thing of beauty :D

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  37. Beautiful salad Sam!
    I am craving salads....I have nothing in the house due to the hurricane so we had fried junk at Legal Seafood tonight....the only game in town! Boy, would I love that purple bean salad now.

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  38. Cool color and I can only imagine your disappointment when the color went back to the classic green!

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  39. These beans are SO pretty! I might hav eto find some seeds and grow purple beans in my garden next year. A lovely salad!

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  40. purple beans looks s cute .. and its so appetizing .. thanks for sharing ..

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  41. What gorgeous beans, Sam! And that salad! Wow! I know this sounds crazy, but I'd love to feature these next week for my salad choice on Fresh Food Friday if you care to link them up. Your photography is looking like you've gone pro now!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam