09 September 2014

Gratin de haricots verts

Green bean casserole, the basis for my French title, is an American standard. Usually it's made with canned or frozen green beans, a can of Campbell's mushroom soup, and a can of something called "French-fried onions." In my case, the green bean casserole is made from scratch and with a breadcrumb and cheese topping instead of fried onions.

The advantage we have here is that fresh green beans have been plentiful in the vegetable garden this year. And we have good breadcrumbs that we make from pieces of our village baker's baguettes de tradition when they go stale. Thanks to the food processor...

I also took a section of saucisson sec (dried salami) and cut it into little sticks (lardons de saucisson). I coked the lardons in boiling water for a couple of minutes before adding them to the blanched green beans and mushrooms.

The mushrooms, by the way, came out of a jar. The variety is called  le pied-bleu (the blue-stalk mushroom). It is cultivated, packed, and sold by the people who operate the mushroom caves over in the village of Bourré, not 10 miles from here. (Thanks to Lynn and Joel for the gift.)

Finally, I made a small quantity of béchamel sauce (a white sauce made with butter, flour, and milk/cream) and added some grated cheeses — French Emmental (a "Swiss" cheese) and Italian Grana Padano (a hard cheese like Parmesan) — to make a sauce for the beans. Some more of the two cheeses got mixed with buttered baguette crumbs to serve as a topping for the gratin.

As I type, the "casserole" is cooking in the oven. It will be a side dish served with half a chicken roasted on the barbecue grill.

P.S. It was a success...


  1. Pieds bleu grow under our lime tree...
    they are a lovely.... and easily identified... mushroom.
    But we don't get the quantity for a dish like this!!

    Also, how sec was your saucisson sec?
    Some of the "artisinal" ones we've had are so sec that you could build with them!
    Fine for sooops if cut up very, very small....
    useless for anything else...
    but, this looks lovely...
    and as there are runner beans still coming...
    this will be a must!

  2. The saucisson was fairly dry, and just barely moelleux. It was easy to cut into lardons. I think pre-cooking the lardons for 3 or 4 minutes in boiling water made their flavor milder and less dominant.


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