I’ve had to quickly write another post owing to the lack of clarity of my previous one which was intended to be read as a universal cautionary tale of the pitfalls of everymans’ summer vacation rather than a declaration of my own holiday going down the toilet…which it isn’t, as I’m not on holiday: my current life just seems to be one continual holiday which state I have searched for all my life and, happily, appear to have found. So I thought I’d write about a gift of green beans which cannot be misunderstood.
The beans appeared yesterday. They were proffered, cupped in the huge earth movers that my neighbour calls his hands, from which they were tipped into my cooking apron. Haricots verts, I must confess, have been a disappointment to me in recent years but, in the spirit and giving and receiving, I was determined that something good should come of this unexpected bean wealth and so turned to Nigel Slater. My cursory research suggested that the secret to a tender and delicious haricot vert lay in steaming rather than boiling…..there was also a suggestion that parmesan is a good partner. These particular beans have sunk low in the bean pecking order which order is topped by haricot blancs (mogettes in this part of the world), and broad beans making haricots verts the third bean who slowly turns on a virtual Riesenrad, ignored and mumbling about cuckoo clocks and chocolate. Today, or yesterday to avoid any misunderstanding of today’s post, was the moment for Harry to get in the steam room and come out a new and delicious bean….which he did. I’m converted and the haricot vert has climbed to the top of the bean pile. All memories of limp,dark green bottled beans or stringy, vegetal dental floss have been erased.
These beans, when cooked in steam for about 10 minutes, become firm yet fondant bean flesh. There’s a bite to them rather than a collapse. Salad…a bean salad came to mind as the day was hotter than the beans. The hot beans drunk the olive oil and cider vinegar with a thirst akin to a parched legionnaire who has crawled for days across the burning sands of the Sahara and the bean taste was sharpened by sea salt and ground black pepper .Today, I’m going to try them with slightly blackened, oven roasted tomatoes…another excellent idea from Tender by the inimitable Nigel Slater.