haricot vert with shallots

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

More green beans:

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 freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons diced fresh 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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59 comments on haricot vert with shallots

  1. Molly’s ribs were the shizz, but that pie you made has not left my mind since Monday. I’m dreaming about it. I think it might be the best thing you ever made, dessert wise that is.

  2. BTW, I love green beans. I know my Mom reads this….so please make a note of this receipe! It looks easy enough for us to make next family dinner. Yum!

  3. Joy

    Deb, I love the simplicity of this dish. I’m not a big fan of zucchini (I know, I might as well stop talking now…), but I love green beans! And lemon. I can’t wait to try this. Now I need to have a green bean run!

  4. Those look fantastic! I’ve noticed one problem with some greenbeans, though, where they don’t soak up the flavors at all. But those recipes are with some oil, where as maybe this butter-based recipe would cling to the beans better. Sounds simple and tasty!

  5. jessica mae

    you just reminded me of my all time fave summertime staple. fresh greenbeans, steamed but still a tad crunchy, mixed with freshly grated parmesan and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. gaw, so good. must. have. tonight. and every night from here on out.

  6. Yep, minus the tomatoes this is my mom’s (and thus my) go-to method. I can taste them in my mind right now. I love them cold out of the fridge, too, despite the slight discoloration from the lemon juice along the ends. Mmmmmm.

  7. Angela

    This might not help Deb but if you have a little garden space, these green beans (look for French filet beans, not regular green beans) are easy to grow, very productive and I never get tired of eating them. I’ll have to try this recipe when mine come in (about 30 days and counting…).

  8. I love fresh green beans! I’m still working on the cooking them properly part. (Hey, I come from a land where you put them on the stove with some pork and let them cook for hours.)

  9. LOVE haricots verts and shallots together. i like to reduce some balsamic and toss that with the beans and shallots, so good. or course, that’s when i’m not eating them raw out of hand.

  10. Ann

    Dang! These look gorgeous! I think you probably know from my drooling comments about your desserts that I’m rather prone toward them – but these really look great. Me and hubby love green beans – so, I don’t mean to be naive – but I’ve never had these – are they similar but yummier? i think I must seek them.

    And, as always – great pictures – such light, freshness, color saturation – really so wonderful to look at and I always appreciate that part of coming here. :)

  11. Jocelyn’s Mom

    Hi Deb! These looked so good I decided to copy out the recipe – even before Jocelyn’s comment that I should do so! Thanks for an always inspiring recipe – at least to think about!

  12. Sooz

    I love it that I don’t have to pick thru the green beans to find these little darlins’ anymore! What a lovely way to fix them!

  13. Hi Deb, I came across your blog looking for strawberry rhubarb recipes. Such artful pics! Your green bean and zucchini recipes represent how I always want to eat and cook — great ingredients that are just allowed to shine. Will have to try them soon.

  14. prklypr

    This has similar ingredients to the green bean and tomato salad from a few weeks ago – my new addiction! I have made it no less than 6 times since you published…to rave reviews every time. Even kids like this recipe!

  15. Delicious

    string beans + lemon juice + raw garlic + a touch of sesame oil + toasted sesame seeds (optional)
    serve hot or cold

  16. giselle

    I made this last night and it was delish. I did add garlic, but that’s the only thing. :) My boyfriend doesn’t like green beans but he ate them all and said it was an A++ recipe. Thanks!

  17. j

    I just made this and it definitely lives up to your description. I almost want to brave the San Francisco fog to go buy more green beans!

  18. Cheryl

    Yummy! Thanks for the great recipe. It sounded so simple I had low expectations but these are so tasty. I can’t believe you shared them with Alex. I ate them all by myself.

  19. This reminds me of my grandmas dish of green beans boiled with bacon and onion, but better! I can’t wait to try this. So happy I’ve found your blog, fantabulous photos, great humour and scrumptious recipes. I love ribs and am so looking forward to trying your dry rub tech too

  20. Mary Beth

    All of your recipes look fabulous, but I find that I’m most moved by the veggies, which is a very good thing. I think it’s the wonderful photography that makes the veg look so much more appealing than I could imagine veg to be, so I’m moved to try the recipe. Case in point: I have not traditionally been a green bean lover, but you have won me over to the haricot vert side of the street with this and the green bean and tomato salad. Thanks Deb!

  21. I had to try it because I just happen to love haricot verts… and I loved it!

    Sadly, I was the only one in my family. My 2.5 year old said that the beans were “quite hard”, meaning she had some difficulty chewing them. Even though all her teeth are out I guess she’s still used to “softer” food. My hubby also said the same thing (but he doesn’t have problems with teeth or with “harder” food) :-)

    So it wasn’t a great success for them, but it was for me. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I stumbled across your blog a week ago and have been working my way through your recipes. I love the haricot vert… this may be MY new favorite side dish!

    I’ve made it twice in the last week. So delicious. So simple. So versatile. Thank you for showing me how fantastic these little beans are!

  23. Hi Deb –

    LOVE your stuff! Just made these wonderful little beans the other night, and wouldn’t you know, my husband ate vegetables! A miracle! I love them, and I was hoping it would be ok with you if I linked to your pages on occasion…I just want to tell the world (being my small circle of friends and family who actually read my blog), about the wonderful things I’ve been cooking up thanks to your ideas.

  24. pat

    Made these last Easter for our annual Easter Dinner at Carolyn’s and everybody loved them. Even the guys. So last night at dinner with the women I said I would bring them again. Yay! They again said how good they were. I can barely cook, but at last something my friends like, even though they’re from the generation of cooked-to-death-vegetables. So glad to find the recipe is still online!

  25. Julie

    Just made this for dinner for my boyfriend and loved the way it turned out! I got lazy and didn’t add the tomatoes but thought the combination of shallots and lemon was fantastic. I will be giving the recipe to my parents and am definitely planning to make them again very soon.

  26. Yuliya

    Hi Deb!
    Here’s an authentic Russian recipe (my grandma makes it all the time). Boil the beans, add some fresh finely chopped galic, some chopped tamatoes, salt, and finally! sunflower seed oil (the aromatic kind found at Russina grocery stores – you can ask your mother-in-law to pick it up for you). Now cover the pan and shake it well! Priyatnogo appetita!

  27. Chuck

    I’ve been making something similar for years but I brown the butter and add toasted almonds or walnuts. Without the nuts it works really well for brussell sprouts.

  28. Just made this and it was so good I know I’ll be adding it to my stack of smitten kitchen recipes to make over and over! I’ve always enjoyed green beans cooked with a piece of bacon to add some savory flavor, but this tastes brighter. I’m going to try and cook this for my vegetable-phobic roommate– maybe it will help her come over to the healthy side.

  29. Katie

    Hey there — I’ve been making this for the past year or so, and completely love it. I loooove green beans and butter and shallots (I omit the tomatoes, because frankly, you don’t need ’em!).

    Thank you so much — they’re sitting in the pot right now waiting to be eaten! (Waiting for the main course :P)

    Thanks again!

  30. Toni

    I love haricot verts as well….. One day I was looking for a quicky side dish, and decided to sautee these in a spoon of olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper and pat of butter. Just after a few mins, warm but still a little crisp, I added a few splashes of white truffle oil. OMG! I couldn’t believe how good this was. I felt like an iron chef. What a hit?!? Even my 6 year old loved them. What more can you ask?

  31. This is now my go-to way to serve green beans as a side. My husband loves it! We often eat them all before we even get to the protein. I mentioned this recipe in my most recent blog post, I hope more people try it out – so much flavor!

  32. Shaila

    I made these for Thanksgiving dinner tonight, because I despise greenbean casserole, and they were a huge hit! I’m going to go buy more beans tomorrow to go with our leftovers!

  33. I usually lurk and don’t post but I had to post that I like to eat haricots and green beans with my fingers too! :)

    I was looking for a side to go with Ina’s Lemon Chicken from How Easy is That and this looks PERFECT! I hadn’t seen it on your site before but I guess I mainly look at entrees and desserts. Thanks!!

  34. Antonina

    If you are a fan of green beans with tomato there is a fantastic recipe in Moro East that uses fenugreek seeds in the tomato topping … worth a look

  35. Rebekah

    Delicious!!! This was so easy to make, and came out excellent! My picky of picky French husband scarfed it down and lauded it. Will definitely be making this again and again.

  36. Stacey

    So I took this as a starting off point and it was magical. I put the beans in with ~1in of water in my saute pan with a bullion cube, a small leek and 2 campari tomatoes. Forgot the lemon but next time! Definitely being added to my regular line up.

  37. Amanda

    This is one of my go to side dishes now. I absolutely love it. I also frequently get requests to bring this to family dinners. Big favorite of anyone who has had it.

  38. Marylin White

    Thank you for another great recipe! We have had so many wonderful meals lately, cooking with a weekly box of fresh produce & fruit from our farmer’s market, and your great recipes. LOVED the haricot vert with shallots. And blackberry cream cheese galette. And apple muffins. And can’t wait to make triple berry cake again this year. You have enriched our lives.