08 July 2014

Haricots verts à l'italienne

There have been major problems with the TGV in the "chunnel" since yesterday morning. An electrical problem immobilized a train in the tunnel yesterday morning. Nearly 400 people had to be evacuated through an emergency side-tunnel. Trains from Paris to London were delayed or had to be canceled.

Walt just saw a post our friend Peter left on Facebook. He and Jill left Saint-Aignan yesterday morning at 7:15, and they finally arrived in London 12 hours later — four or five hours late. But at least they made it. Meanwhile, Walt and I were resting at home after a very busy weekend. I went to three restaurants in three days, and we prepared dinners at home on Thursday (grilled chicken breasts and salade macédoine) and Saturday (raclette).

Yesterday, I needed to cook some green beans I had bought for the weekend but hadn't used. They were the wide, flat beans called haricots cocos plats in France — I think they are known as Romano beans in America. I decided to cook them Italian-style, with tomatoes and onions, since I also had a few fresh tomatoes in the kitchen.

Here's the recipe I like. It's from the book Cuisine pour toute l'année (1969) by a woman named Monique Maine. The book has been my favorite French cookbook for nearly 35 years. I'm translating:

Green Beans Italian Style

750 g (1¾ to 2 lbs.) fresh green beans
500 g (1 lb.) fresh tomatoes
4 small onions
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper
30 g (2 Tbsp.) butter
1 Tbsp. oil

Wash and trim the green beans. Cut them into pieces if you want. Wash and trim the tomatoes
and cut them into halves or quarters. Peel and slice the onions. In a big pot, melt the butter
 with the oil and cook the tomatoes and onions for a minute or two on medium-high heat.
Add the beans to the pot with the garlic clove, salt and pepper, and some thyme.
Pour on a half cup of water. Cover the pot and let the beans cook
for about an hour on medium heat.

You can reduce the cooking time if you like the beans crunchier. I used only olive oil (3 Tbsp.) instead of part butter and I used our dried, garden-grown oregano instead of thyme this time. I also added some mushrooms we happened to have in the freezer. We'll be having half the beans for lunch today, with escalopes de dinde. The rest of the beans go into the freezer for later.

The weather here is lousy right now. It feels downright chilly this morning, and the weather woman on Télématin just said that the high temperatures today will be much lower than seasonal averages. It's raining in different places around the country, but not in Saint-Aignan for the moment. The plate of hot green beans with tomatoes and onions will be good comfort food.


  1. Thanks for recipe it very easy and I think it's definitely deliciuos.

    1. Yes, Gosia, it is definitely delicious, IMO. Thanks for your nice comments.

  2. The channel tunnel does seem to be having more than its fair share of problems lately.
    The beans are possibly what we would call "runner beans". My father used to grow loads of them, and we grew some too, when we had a vegetable plot.
    They look delicious cooked that way.

    1. Hello Jean, I still don't know what runner beans are. We tried to grow them once and we got a lot of pretty green leaves and red flowers but absolutely no beans. We concluded that the plants didn't like our soil or our summer temperatures, or both. I think we'd call runner beans "pole beans" in America.

  3. That looks sooooo appetising....
    our runner/climbing French bean cross, Moonlight, has just started to flower...
    I must try and remember you've blogged this!
    I think it looks as though it would also make a very good cold salad with just a touch of white balsamic vinegar added.

    1. Our French bush beans are doing very well. We are waiting to see if the (English seeds) pole beans do anything in the plot with the corn and squash. Maybe we'll finally find out what a "runner" bean is.

    2. I will be awaiting reports with interest....
      the reason we grow the Moonlight cross is because traditional English runner beans don't do very well at all....
      grown normally....
      in the French climate, from Paris downwards...
      the shade from the other plants may well counteract the rise in temperature...
      we are growing Cherokee Trail of Tears again this year....
      a traditional climbing "French" bean for the "Three Sisters"...
      we grew the three sisters one year, but the maize didn't get going....
      so we had to substitute canes for maize to keep the beans off the soil

  4. My Dad's pole beans did some running, but they were flat like yours. They may have been Kentucky wonders. Best bean ever. When cooked with bacon they turned a deep dark green. I need to try tomatoes in my beans sometime, but it just doesn't seem right. Potatoes on top, yes.

  5. It does look delicious -- fresh veggies cooked at home always are :)
    I made zucchini yesterday, which doesn't sound like an amazing feat *LOL*, but I never, ever cook zucchini by itself-- usually use it in a pasta with a bunch of other stuff. Yesterday, I just cut it up in thick julienne style, and sautéed with butter and olive oil, with salt and garlic, and then put a good dose of grated parmesan on top... delicous! We had it with barbecued pork country ribs. Yumm!

  6. This looks like a lovely summer meal. This is not a kind of bean I ever see for sale fresh. I would need to raise them myself.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?