Fresh green beans add tender crunch to side dishes, salads, more

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Glamour beans and garlic mashed potatoes belie their humble garden origins.

Green beans are in full fettle and the more they’re picked the more they continue to gift us with their tender freshness.

Served as a gloriously simple side dish topped only with a pat of (rea)l butter and a dash of salt has no peer. However, a multitude of easy but delectable choices make possible a greater range of venue for these mid-summer treasures. Enjoy!

Let us begin at the beginning of all green bean (haricot verts) recipes with this simple restaurant classic.

Green Beans

a L’Anglaise

Prepare a large pot of water and bring to a boil with 1-2 tablespoons of salt: this sets the green and will be washed off when drained/rinsed.*

Snip the stem end of a handful of beans and place them in the pot when a rolling boil is reached.

Cook until just tender-crisp — no more than 3-5 minutes depending on size of beans. Drain into a colander and pat dry.

For serving hot, place immediately into a prepared pan of melted butter (1 tablespoon or more according to amount of beans), along with chopped fresh herbs of your choosing — tarragon, parsley, chives, etc., tossing gently till heated through. No seasoning is needed.

Serve as the featured vegetable dish for any entrée.

* When using beans for salad, drain beans and flush with cold water till chilled; pat dry. They are now ready for use in salads, such as our following choices.

Haricots Verts Salad

(For 2)

½ pound thin green beans, trimmed at stem ends (you may snip or keep pointy tips as you wish), prepared and chilled.

1 tablespoon fine olive oil

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon mixed chopped fresh herbs, mint, parsley, dillweed, etc.

Toss together all ingredients and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Chilled Green Beans with Creamy Horseradish Dressing

Prepare enough slender green beans to serve 4-6 people, and chill.

Make dressing:

1 tablespoon horseradish

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 or 2 large ripe tomatoes

Mix dressing ingredients together and chill one hour.

Just before serving time, slice the tomatoes thickly and arrange around the outside of a salad platter.

Pile chilled beans onto center of platter and spoon horseradish dressing atop them. Serve immediately.

Great with a hefty barbecue of ribs or burgers.

Green Beans With Pecans

1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed as desired, prepared for hot dish

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup finely chopped green onions w/tops or shallots

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup pecan pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter in a pan and sauté the scallions just until softening.

Stir in the parsley and blend. Add beans and pecans, tossing and mixing lightly; season as desired, serve.

Our next recipe would blend beautifully with an Oriental-themed dinner of rice and sautéed large prawns.

Gingered Green Beans

1 pound green beans, prepared for hot dish, tips removed and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion very thinly sliced

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger*

¼ teaspoon crushed fennel seed

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup water

Heat butter in a large skillet; add onion, ginger, fennel and salt. Saute gently until onions are glazed and translucent.

Add beans and water, stir and cover.

Cook only till beans are completely heated through. Serve in a warm bowl.

* You may use grated preserved or candied ginger if you wish.

Tip: If water is not absorbed when beans are done, cook and stir gently a bit with the lid removed.

Valle Novak writes the Country Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Daily Bee. She can be reached at or by phone at 208-265-4688.

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