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French Beans with Garlic

French Beans with Garlic


French beans are the classic accompaniment for lamb, but they are equally delicious with fish and chicken. You can also serve them at room temperature, as part of a salad buffet. Instead of the cooked beans, try long, thin slices of steamed courgettes, sauteed with the garlic.

 

SERVES 4

  • 625 g small green beans, topped

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • a handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the beans, return to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Set aside.

  2. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic, beans and salt and cook over high heat for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and lemon juice, if using. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

  3. Variation Flageolet beans are the other traditional partner for lamb. Generally, dried beans taste better if cooked from scratch, but this does require advance planning. Happily, flageolets are the exception, especially if you can find imported French flageolets in jars, not cans.

  4. For mixed beans to serve with lamb (for four), halve the quantity of green beans and add a 400 g jar of drained flageolet beans to the cooked green beans when frying with the garlic. Instead of lemon juice, stir in 3-4 tablespoons creme fraiche just before serving.

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