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haricot verts

anyone use hari coverts (french string beans, right?) much at home. i saw them on the menu last night but didnt end up getting that dish. intrigued, tho. havent even seen them in the market i dont think...any words of advice?
upon googling i read that they are pretty much the best string bean money can buy...something, btw, that i never thought i'd read regarding green beans...hehe.

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  1. Haricot vert, haricot verts, haricots verts = green beans. That's it. The beans most people mean when they use the term are small French green beans. I've eaten lots of them but personally am not that impressed. I love green beans, but paying more for little ones doesn't strike me as something I care to do.

    1 Reply
    1. re: River Rat

      You must not have had good fresh ones. The ones I buy at my farmers' market are worth the premium price: sweet and crisp, they just need a quick (1 minute) blanch, then a shock in cold water. I toss them with a bit of butter over medium heat just before serving, or serve them cold with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette and strips of prosciutto and toasted pine nuts., with some goat cheese crumbled on top. My family looks forward to the arrival of these gems for months.

    2. It's haricots verts. I've prepared them at home a few times. My favorite way is to parboil the beans in salted water. While they're cooking, cut up a few strips of bacon in 1-inch pieces and fry the pieces til crisp. Take the bacon out of the pan and set aside, pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat and saute a minced onion in the fat until it's soft and translucent. Then drain the parcooked beans and put them in the saute pan with the onions and add the bacon bits. Just toss around to mix and heat throughout.

      1. They are wonderful - small and sweet and they never get that mealy texture or the old wood flavor that large beans get. I buy them whenever available.

        1. Direct translation: haricots = beans and vert = green.

          Well - you don't have to snap them, string them, or anything but basically wash them. They are more tender and I think that when fresh, somewhat more flavorful. I like to just saute (pan-fry) them in oo, a little butter and garlic, s&p. I do the same with normal green beans, but I have to cut or snap the stem ends first, then I usually steam them before sauteing them. Are they worth it? They're worth trying, to see the difference for yourself. I buy them over standard green beens during the summer when they're available fresh, locally. But from the grocery store?... usually not worth it. I'd say definitely not worth it if just plain boiling, or putting in soups, etc.

          1. hari coverts: spies who need a shave.

            1 Reply
            1. First off, about that spelling. It's "haricots verts" (haricots = beans; verts = green).

              I love them and use them often. They are much thinner than regular string bean, but the thinness can vary, and I prefer to pick out the absolute thinnest ones. Also, they do not have that little pod on the inside that is found in regular string beans. You keep each bean whole, unlike regular beans, which are sometimes cut into smaller pieces.

              The simplest method of preparation is to boil some water, drop them in and cook them for just a few moments so that they remain crisp. Drain, season with freshly ground pepper (and a bit of salt, if you wish), and toss with a bit of butter.

              They are the traditional bean of the classic salade Nicoise, in which case they are cooked, shocked in cold water, and then chilled.

              They can cost as much as $5/lb which, obviously, puts them in the very expensive category. But because they are so thin, they weigh less than the regular beans.

              In my view, they are elegant, delicious, and totally worth the price.

              1. Has anyone ever roasted these or are they too delicate? I am roasting a chicken with vegetables tonight and I was going to serve the haricots verts on the side with butter. How would they stand up to an hour in the oven @400 degrees?

                2 Replies
                1. re: greenstate

                  Not a good idea. I think they would shrivel into burned little shards.

                  1. re: greenstate

                    Yes! They're amazing roasted, like sweet little french fries. They only take about 15 minutes at 400. We often just put olive oil and some salt and pepper on them and that's enough. Don't forget to toss them around once. They're done when darkened in spots and starting to shrivel.

                  2. Walking around Paris, many years ago, passed through a street market at the height of haricot season. Baskets of them all around, practically radiating a green glow, made me wish I was going back to my house instead of a hotel room! That night we went to a famous brasserie, Chez Julien, and I saw waiters carrying plates of those incandescent beans - and there they were on the entrée (first course) menu. So everybody else got patés and terrines and snails, but I got my haricots verts, cooked exactly to crisply tender perfection and bathed in butter. Green bean heaven!

                    applehome has it right: fresh-picked is the way to go. I will buy those so-called "microwave" packs if I just really want little green beans badly enough, and they're edible...but it's like having frozen peas when you're jonesing for fresh. Might scratch the itch, but won't make it go wawy.

                    1. This is a veggie you have to get at a farmers' market if you don't grow your own. They deteriorate rapidly once they're picked so the ones in grocery stores are days and maybe a week or more away from the field and have lost the flavor that would make them worth the price.
                      I bought them frozen recently and found them pretty decent. I cooked them very quickly in a very hot cast iron skillet with clarified butter, almost stir-frying them, and they were delicious. Not like the wonderful fresh ones, but a pretty darned good side dish.
                      I think it's like English peas. Better good frozen ones than old ones. They just don't ever make it fresh to supermarkets. You have to grow your own or get them at farmers' markets. More than a day or two out of the fields and they're over and done.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MakingSense

                        I've bought some really nice haricots verts at local high-end groceries and also at Whole Foods.

                        Blanched, shocked, sauteed with caramelized shallots...

                        Or blanched, shocked, and tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette (heavy on the Dijon). Quite classic.

                      2. Trader Joe's sells some pretty decent ones in the frozen section.

                        I blanch than in heavily salted boiling water, then a very hot saute in olive oil until the skin blisters, and add garlic and hot pepper. Delicious.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: peekpoke

                          I agree that TJ's has very good (and cheap) frozen haricots vert. I usually grow them, preferably bush rather then pole. Referred to by some seed dealers as "filet beans". This years I'm growing snow peas, but I think I'm back to harrys next year. Caveat...pick when 3-4 inches long. That stimulates growth. Usually blanching is enough cooking, especially if you want to finish in butter (with garlic and bacon). If you are going to grow, also try the Spanish similar thin bean, broader than harrys.