Learning from others is in many ways the best way to learn about cooking. Most good cooks have go-to recipes and techniques that you may not utilize, but should be using.
Case in point – we were invited to our friend’s Ken Finkel & Jane Delzer house for dinner this past Saturday. Both are excellent cooks. Ken was preparing a Thai shrimp dish that they had eaten on a recent trip to Europe. With the shrimp dish was a simple side of green beans.
Now I cook green beans all the time. I buy a handful or two in the bulk bin (because I’m cheap), trim the ends, cut them in half, steam them and serve with butter/herbs/garlic/lemon etc. But they sometimes lose some of that bright green color and can be a little over or under cooked. Overcooked becomes a little mushy and under cooked is a little too firm.
Ken was using haricots verts. Haricots verts just means “green beans” in French. There is a difference between French green beans (haricots verts) and typical American green beans. Haricots verts are longer and thinner than American green beans and are usually more tender and have a more flavorful taste. They cook more quickly, retain their bright green color and are very tender, but firm after cooking. (Don’t be fooled by the term “French Cut”. French-cut is just a fancy term for julienne or thinly sliced. Not the same as Haricot verts). The only down side is that they are more expensive than American, bulk green beans.
No real need to trim the haricot verts (unless you want to), just sauté/steam in some water for a few minutes. You are really just blanching them. And you can do this at the very end of your meal prep.
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 pound haricots verts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
Place haricot verts in a medium skillet; add 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and add butter. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until haricot verts are crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Cooking Secrets for Men
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