french green beans

French Green Beans

Native to Mexico, string beans, known as haricot verts, have been a popular vegetable in France since the 17th century. They were grown in Versailles by Jean de la Quintinie, the royal gardener, who developed a way to grow fruits and vegetables in hot beds for year-round enjoyment.

1 ½ pounds haricot verts, both ends trimmed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons parsley, minced

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the beans and cook for 1 minute only – you want to make sure they’re crisp-tender! Time it carefully! Drain the beans and put them in the ice water until completely cool. Drain the beans again, dry on paper towels, and place them in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and the pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.

Pour enough dressing over the beans to moisten them well, reserving the rest for another use. Toss with the capers, parsley and lemon zest, season to taste, and refrigerate.

Toss with a little more vinaigrette to moisten just before serving.

Serves 6

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