I've had a hankering for a plate of french beans all week - no, I don't know why either! - but I've been trying to ignore it. French beans are not in season here in the UK, until July/August and I like to eat things in their seasons.
However, last night I succumbed and bought a packet on my way home from work. They are probably perfectly good beans but they were grown in Kenya, so with all that travel and packaging they are not going to be super fresh and tasty.
I would usually just boil or steam french beans and dress them with a little butter and seasoning but in this case I thought a little more was needed to help the flavours along.
Recipe - serves 2
1 220g packet french (green) beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon flaked almonds - you could you chopped if you wish
1 lemon - juice and zest
freshly ground black pepper
pinch chilli flakes
First top and tail your beans. Sometimes I will leave the bottom spike on but these seemed rather pointy so I chopped them off.
Bring some water to the boil and either steam or boil your beans. Please only cook them until they are tender with a bit of bite, i.e. al dente, over cooked french beans are a gift from the devil and should be thrown away - as with all legumes - yes, I do feel that strongly about it! - there's no point or pleasure in sitting down to a plate of greying, soggy beans......right rant over.....hit a saw spot there!....
Anyway, back to the cooking of said beans, they should take between 4 to 6 minutes.
Whilst your beans are cooking you can quickly whip up your dressing. Pop the olive oil, chilli flakes, salt, freshly ground pepper, lemon zest and juice in a bowl and whisk together.....
It should all amalgamate to look a little opaque...
Now drain your beans and pop them back in the hot pan.
Pour your dressing over the beans and gently swirl them around so all the beans are coated.
Lift the beans from the pan and place in a warm serving dish.
Now add your flaked almonds to the remaining oil in the pan and swirl it all around - again.
Pour over your beans and serve.
These beans are a great side-dish for any grilled or roasted meat and go really well with fish.
Have a good weekend