23 August 2012

Stir-fried green beans with shrimp

It's always surprising how some plants in the vegetable garden produce like mad in certain years and give you almost nothing other years. This year, so far, green beans are the stars of the garden. We planted both haricots verts and haricots cocos plats back in June.

At this point, we've starting blanching and freezing the cocos plats (Italian or Romano flat beans) after eating an awful lot of them over the past few weeks. And now we are getting ready to start blanching and freezing haricots verts for wintertime enjoyment, because we're getting more than we can eat even if we have some every day.

 Stir-fry the green beans and pieces of sweet red pepper for just two or three minutes.

One of the best dishes we've had with our green beans was a stir-fry with shrimp, lardons (chunks of bacon, ham, or pancetta), sweet red peppers, and Chinese noodles. I don't really have a precise recipe for it because it was mostly improvised. I can say though that the first step is to peel and de-vein the shrimp (I had about two dozen) and marinate them in a mixture of diced ginger and garlic with some hot red pepper flakes, soy sauce, chopped herbs (basil is good), and white wine (sweet or dry). Leave them in the marinade for a hour or two and then prepare the beans and the sweet red pepper for cooking.

Here are the beans and the shrimp after stir-fying, waiting to be combined with noodles and sauce.

Stir-fry the beans and sweet peppers in canola or some other neutral oil on high heat for just three or four minutes. Take them out of the pan and set them aside. Then stir-fry the lardons for a minute or two in the same pan. When the pork is nearly cooked, toss in the shrimp (don't put in the liquid marinade at this point) and stir-fry them for two or three minutes, just until they stiffen and turn pink. Set them aside with the beans and peppers.

We've had an abundance of haricots verts this month.

Meanwhile cook up about half a pound of Asian noodles, spaghetti, linguine, or other pasta in boiling water until just done. Drain them and toss them in a little bit of vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together.

In the wok where you cooked the beans and then the shrimp, sauté a small onion, diced or sliced. When it's cooked and starting to color, add a two or three tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, a quarter cup of white wine (sherry, mirin, or other), and the same quantity of Chinese oyster sauce. Optionally, add some hot red pepper flakes or Asian chili-garlic sauce. Add in the shrimp marinade too. Stir all that together with the onions in the wok and let it cook down and thicken slightly to make a sauce.

Stir-fried green beans and shrimp with lardons, sweet red peppers, onions, and Asian sauces.

Add the cooked noodles or pasta to the wok and toss them in the sauce. Then add the beans and shrimp and toss everything together. Be careful not to let either the beans or shrimp overcook. They just need to heat through again for a minute or two. We thought this was a great success and really delicious.


  1. Those freshly picked beans look so crunchy!!! So different from what we get here in the supermarket. My father used to grow haricots verts and, like you, we had them on the menu for several days or even weeks during the summer. We never used them in a stir fry though. Exellent and delicious idea, judging by the photos and your explanation! Martine

  2. Hi Martine, I wish I could bring or send you some of these haricots verts. They are so good now, but we can't possible eat them all. They won't be as good after blanching and freezing, but then in wintertime we will enjoy them anyway. Bises à toi...

  3. It always drives me nuts when I plant a garden. I will plant my seeds in a nice row, water them, keep the weeds away and treat them like one of my children. I'm lucky to get half of them to grow. My son will spill half of his seeds on the cement sideway and they'll grow like crazy.

  4. 12WOW! That dish just looks so fresh and flavorful! Wonderful photography, too, mon ami :))

  5. (For heaven's sake... that "12" was not there in my original post. But-- consider it 12 wows!)

  6. I have recently discovered greasy back beans in the local farmers markets here....in some places they sell them already snapped (all the better for my arthritic hands) and though they do take just a tad longer to cook than regular green beans, they have a lot more flavor (in my opinion different & better than green beans) these greasy ones are also green & a bit plumper than the slender ones

    and i have also been doing a lot of stir frys this summer....my fav sauce to add spice is Siraccha

  7. My green beans are also in overdrive. I'm going to try your recipe.

  8. Hi Melinda, do you pronounce that [greece-ee] or [greez-ee]? The name probably won't attract many gourmets, but I actually love greazy/greasy beans — that is, green beans cooked with lardons (salt pork or ham or bacon grease). Siraccha is one of those bottled sauces that I keep hearing about this summer. Since it's Thai, it's bound to be good.

    Chris, hope you like it. You will, I'm sure.

  9. I'm learning lots from this post about ways to good green beans which are one of my favorite veggies.
    "Siraccha" is a new spice to me, but I bet my daughter knows it.

  10. Sriracha, I think, is the spelling.

  11. Thanks, Carolyn. I've never used that sauce, but now I know how to spell it.


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