Ask a cook

Kathleen Purvis / The Charlotte Observer /


Q: I have found French green beans in a bag at a local supermarket. Can you tell me the best way to prepare them? I like green beans that are a little crunchy.

A: For these small, thin green beans, actually called haricot vere, French for “bean green,” or filet beans, a little crunchy is the way to go. Don’t overcook them.

There are a number of simple preparations. Most start with blanching them quickly — less than a minute — in boiling salted water, then dashing in ice water to stop cooking.

Then you can toss them with a vinaigrette and serve them cold, or saute them quickly. They’re particularly good topped with toasted almonds.

I use an even simpler method: Place the trimmed green beans in a skillet with about ¼ cup water, 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, maybe a teaspoon sesame oil and about 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook a few minutes. Then uncover and let the water cook off, leaving the seasoned oil behind. Toss them for a minute or two, then serve.