Crunchy French-Style Green Beans

You've heard of French fries, well here is a recipe for French beans, and they're just as good. I learned this quick recipe in France at a fancy dinner at a winery. Nothing fancy about this great recipe other than the taste. In France they use a variety of bean called haricots vert that is longer and thinner than the typical string bean grown in the US, but they are appearing in more stores. You can use plain old fresh green beans.

Recipe

Makes. 4 servings

Preparation time. 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound of fresh green beans

2 tablespoons of fresh duck fat or bacon drippings

1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

About the fat. Butter will work if you don't have duck fat or bacon drippings, but it's not the same.

About the bread crumbs. You can use seasoned bread crumbs if you wish.

Optional. Just before serving, sprinkle generously with Parmesan or Romano cheese after you plate it, or serve the cheese on the side and let your guests sprinkle it on their plates.

Method

1) Snap off the stem ends of the beans. Boil a large pot of water, about 4 quarts. Fill a bowl about the same time with ice water and set it aside.

2) When the water is boiling briskly, boil the beans for about 3 minutes. Do not cook them all the way through. This is called blanching. Drain them in a colander and plunge them into the ice water. This is called shocking and it helps preserve the bright green color. Drain and pat as dry as possible with paper towels. You can do this a day or two in advance.

3) Heat the oil over a medium medium-high flame in a frying pan. Add the beans and toss them around so they brown a bit on all sides, but don't let them scorch. This should take about 5 minutes.

4) Turn the heat down to medium and add the bread crumbs. Toss until they coat the beans and let them toast.

5) Turn the heat down to low. Salt and pepper to taste. Don't waste any of the bread crumbs that fell off the beans into the pan; sprinkle them over the beans.

french string beans

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