Going bold with a side dish is what you want to do when your main dish is subtle. When David made the Summer Squash pasta for me it was full of flavor, the kind of creamy richness that goes really well with the “dark green” flavor of haricots verts (French green beans). Haricots verts are just a little thinner than normal green beans and have a refined quality to them. Plus they are easy to find at Trader Joes…so if you can get them use them!
If you are using regular green beans, or the haricots verts aren’t looking too good at the ends, trim off the ends. It won’t always be necessary but it’s always good to check.
First you need to know a little about the benefits of blanching. Blanching comes in handy when cooking green vegetables because it helps them hold their color and starts to cook them. Boil some water and add the haricots verts to the water and cook for at least four minutes. No need to salt the water; from what I hear experts have tested and found no difference. Where there was a difference, however, was in what happens next. You need to prepare an ice bath (ice and tap water) and transfer the haricots verts to the ice water after the have sat is the water for four+ minutes. Just rinsing them won’t be enough; apparently it needs to be ice water for the best results.
1/2 lb. haricots verts, blanched (more or less haricots verts is fine)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
3 medium sized anchovies
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter and the oil together over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and cook until the slices start to get tender. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes (optional) and anchovies and cook until the anchovies disintegrate. Add the cherry tomatoes and let them cook until they are just starting to pop and fall apart.
Add the blanched haricot vert and cook until warmed through and the flavors are nicely combined. Try and serve it in a dish bigger than the bowl I used. It over flowed and looked like some kind of spiky demon crown thing. Anyways! This was perfect with the Summer Squash Pasta and should work when you are looking for a substantial green to go with dinner.