Haricots Verts a La Normande

What makes these “Normande”? The cream, of course, and the gentle, delicate flavor. These beans make a wonderful side-dish with just about everything.

1 pound (500g) green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, green germ removed if necessary, minced
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup (60ml) crème fraîche
3 tablespoons tarragon leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground white, red, and black peppercorns

1. Bring water in the bottom of a steamer to a boil. Place the beans in the top of the steamer and steam them until they are tender through, about 11 minutes.

2. While the green beans are steaming, melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy skillet over medium heat with the garlic and the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. When the green beans are cooked, remove them from the steamer. If they are very wet, transfer them to a cooling rack topped with a cotton towel, pat off the excess water, then leave them to completely dry at room temperature.

4. Coarsely chop the tarragon.

5. Stir the tarragon and the cream into the garlic and shallots, and heat through over medium heat. Add the beans and toss them in the mixture until they are hot through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

4 to 6 servings

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