Thursday, May 29, 2008

haricot vert with shallots

haricot vert, shallots, butter, lemon and tomatoes

Nearly a year ago, I told you about my favorite side dish. But what I failed to tell you is that these things change suddenly for no apparent reason. One day I’ll try something I’m certain sounds too uninteresting to be executed well–in that case, zucchini, almonds and a bit of parmesan, barely cooked–and the flavor blows my mind to the point that I must eat it that night, the next one and all the days that follow, then pausing for a couple weeks just to pick it up once more.

haricot vert, trimmed and tailed

Well, it has happened again. Two weeks ago, Alex and I got home late from the gym and decided to order salads from the French diner-ish place a couple blocks away, but I suddenly became worried that my salad would not be enough food and threw in a side of haricot vert, or those skinny French green beans I love so much. Nevertheless, my expectations were very low–I mean, you’ve got to cook these guys to a very specific point and then stop, and I failed to see how that would work when they needed to arrive warm.

haricot vert, drained

Yet here we are, two weeks later and this is the third or fourth time I’ve eaten them since. However, last night was the first time I got off my rump long enough to assemble it myself, which if you consider how ridiculously simple this is to make, is particularly sad.

Or wouldn’t be if it weren’t so damned tasty. I mean, I’m drinking my morning coffee right now and I kind of wish I had more. Who knew that green beans, a bit of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, a shallot and some diced tomatoes could be so colossally addictive?

drops of lemon juice

P.S. Alex ate this for dinner with his favorite tuna salad–which he made himself! I ate it with leftover Spinach and Orzo Salad from Simply Recipes. I cannot recommend either enough.

P.P.S. Hilarious, I just realized–four days after posting this–that I posted about a green bean, tomato and shallot salad just three weeks ago. But that was before vacation, and this is after. Surely, you didn’t expect me to remember back that far?

Next up: My friend Molly made the most amazing ribs, ever, on Memorial Day and will tell you how she did them. Seriously, take notes. Then invite me over. Will Travel For Ribs.

One year ago: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Haricot Vert with Shallots

While I’m owning up to things here–you know, like ordering salads from diners that I could walk to sooner than the food would arrive–I need to tell you something else: I think these taste even better when you eat them with your fingers. Sure, looping the beans through the shallot rings is a bit of a challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with buttery, lemony fingers and really, and who wouldn’t be up for a challenge like that?

1/2 pound of haricot vert, trimmed and tailed
2 teaspoon butter
1 small shallot, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons diced tomato
Wedge of lemon

Bring a pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil haricot vert for 3.5 minutes (yes, I honestly believe that this level of timed precision will be rewarded). Plunge them into an ice bath and drain the beans.

In your empty pot (because we’re always looking to save dish-washing time in the smitten kitchen) melt two teaspoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute them until they’re just translucent, not browned–about one to two minutes. Add the drained and cooled haricot vert back into the pot and reheat them in the butter and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Spread haricot vert and shallot onto a plate, throw the diced tomato over them and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice* over the dish. Serve immediately. Eat with your fingers, if your name is Deb.

* David notes that lemon juice discolors green beans and he’s correct. But only if you don’t eat them quickly, which in our case was a non-issue.


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