French in a Flash: Crisp Haricots Verts Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

My Mémé, my grandmother, makes the most amazing green beans. In France, traditionally, vegetables are "well done"—soft and supple. Mémé's green beans are the same: stewed with garlic and tomatoes à la Provençal until the green beans start to split at the seams and collapse into their own juices. They are glorious.

But last weekend in London, with the sun blazing and the heat soaring, I wanted a summer version of Mémé's classic that wouldn't turn my kitchen into one of the inner circles of Hell. I quickly blanched some skinny haricots verts so they were crisp and still vibrantly, verdantly green. As they drained, I singed some finely sliced garlic in olive oil and quickly blitzed some sweet tomatoes to a rubble. I tossed the haricots verts with the now garlicky oil, and topped them with the fresh tomatoes. It was perfectly light, refreshing, and still decidedly punchy. All I needed was a hunk of bread, and I was good to go.

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Crisp Haricots Verts Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic »