Haricots Verts with Caramelized Shallots

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  20 minutes

Haricots Verts with Caramelized Shallots

In this recipe, haricots verts, the green bean's svelte cousin, are dressed up for a special occasion with caramelized shallots, lemon zest, and cultured butter.

Ingredients

2 pounds haricots vests (thin French green beans)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound shallots (about 25), thinly sliced

Pinch of sugar

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons cultured butter, sweet (unsalted), divided (Vermont varieties preferred)

1 teaspoon Maldon salt

4 ounces wasabi (or plain) rice crackers

Instructions

  1. Cook the green beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a large bowl with ice and cold water. Add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, until the green beans are a vivid green. Drain and immediately submerge the beans in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Break the rice crackers into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots lightly brown. Reduce the heat to low. Add the sugar and white pepper. Cook until the shallots are very soft and jam-like, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. In the same saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl to melt over medium heat. Add half of the greens beans and half of the shallots, mixing well to coat while warming the green beans. Do not overcook. The green beans should still have a little al dente snap. Transfer the first batch to a bowl. Repeat with remaining butter, green beans, and shallots. Put it all together in a large serving bowl. Dust with Maldon salt and add the crumbled rice crackers. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Cultured butter isn’t more educated than regular butter, but it sure has a smart tang. It’s worth the extra searching and makes this simple green bean sautĂ© anything but simple. Maldon salt is a British sea salt and is the “salt du jour” among chefs. It has a great crunch and a clean taste.
  2. The green beans may also be microwaved with a small amount of water, or steamed, but the color will not be as vibrant as with boiling and shocking in cold water.
  3. A yogurt-based butter substitute may be used in place of the cultured butter.

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