26 August 2012

Italian vs. Southern

So many green beans. That's the story of August 2012. We've been eating them every other day, at least. Plain, or just with butter or olive oil. Cooked and made into a salad with vinaigrette. Or like the ones below: Italian-style — an old recipe from one of my favorite old French cookbooks — or U.S. Southern-style — with lardons (chunks of ham or bacon).

Fresh green beans cooking with onion, smoked pork lardons, and bay leaves

I'm partial to the Southern style, which also resembles French-style cooking in using smoked or salted pork to flavor "stewed" vegetables and even meat stews. French country cooking resembles Southern cooking in many ways, including this one.

We had the beans with the rest of the roast chicken from a couple of days ago.
While the beans were cooking, I just set the half-chicken on top
of them and covered the pan to re-heat the chicken.

You can make a more refined version by wrapping bundles of cooked beans in slices of bacon and then cooking the little wrapped bundles in butter in a frying pan, as in this recipe. Or you can make a more Italian-style version using pancetta instead of bacon or ham, as in Elise's recipe here.

 Haricots verts à l'italienne

And then there are Italian-style green beans, from a French perspective. The recipe I like is from a French cookbook, Monique Maine's Cuisine pour toute l'année, published more than 40 years ago. Italian = tomatoes, of course, and this is a great way to use both fresh tomatoes and fresh green beans from the garden. The other ingredients are onion, garlic, and thyme. Here's a post of mine about it, from 2009.

Both these recipes for green beans can be good served hot or warm as a side dish, or even cold, as a salad, with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice. As for the question of how crispy or how tender the beans should be cooked... well, that's a matter of taste (or is it religion?). Why not enjoy them both ways, on different days? Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that you can combine the two recipes into one: green beans with tomatoes and lardons, plus all the rest of the ingredients.


  1. Here in Canada some people pickle the green beans and serve them as a garnish for a drink called a caesar, which is similar to a bloody mary but made with Clamato juice. I had a caesar the other day that was garnished with a green bean with a large olive on the end, giving it the appearance of a giant green sperm!

  2. was the chicken all it was cracked up to be?

  3. Green beans, small potatoes & black olives all tossed with garlic, olive oil, basil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Serve warm with crusty bread. Delicious!

  4. Oh my heavens-- that's what I always say when you post these pictures of fresh veggies and yummy cooking ideas. Yummm!



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