Provencal Green Beans

May 31st, 2011

The French call them haricot verts (ah ree koh vayhr).  The French green bean is slightly different from our variety.  They are longer and thinner and very tender.  To achieve the same results, it is best to pick your green beans while they are still small and just maturing in the garden.  This is the best time of year to find young beans at Farmer’s Markets also.

I am relying on the Farmer’s Market more this year than I was last year.  Last year we had a plot in the local community garden, but because of the lack of water and the commute back and forth, we decided to give it up.  Our cottage is surrounded by towering oaks so there is limited sunshine to sustain a large garden plot.  But this year we were able to terrace a sunny hill next to the house for a small garden.  My green beans are growing, but not ready to pick yet.

I have donated a Provencal dinner to a recipient at a silent auction for charity and the green beans are part of the menu.  See the complete menu here.   Because of scheduling conflicts, I will not be able to deliver the dinner until some time in July.  I am hoping to still be able to pick some small green beans from my garden then.

The recipe for Haricort Verts  Provencale came from Richard Olney’s Provence the Beautiful Cookbook.    It is a stunning coffee table book with lovely pictures of the region and recipes that are authentic to Provence.  The green beans and garlic are sauteed in olive oil with bread crumbs.  It makes a lovely presentation and tastes simple and fresh.


Small, tender green beans, 3 – 4 inches long, are best for sauteing.  Larger beans should be snapped in two and parboiled before being sauteed. 

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and curshed
1 lb small, tender green beans, top end trimmed
salt and freshly ground pepper
handful of dried bread crumbs ( I used Panko crumbs)

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic cloves and, when they begin to sizzle and color, add the beans.  Cook, tossing repeatedly, for 4-5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and grind over some pepper.  Add the crumbs and toss or stir with a wooden spoon only until the crumbs are crisp and begin to color.

David left on his motorcycle trip to Alaska on Sunday.  What a better send off could you get than a farewell kiss from your Granddaughter?  Safe travels David.  I will be joining him in Anchorage on June 9th.  Here is a link to his blog, Riding with Dave, if you want to follow along with his adventures.  He has not posted anything new yet because the road has been long and the weather horrible.

Printable recipe

8 responses to “Provencal Green Beans”

  1. I love that Richard Olney book, Penny. But then I love anything of Richard Olney’s.
    So David got off. The weather here has been beautiful but hot, so I assumed he’d have a good start, but not, eh?
    I always grow French petit pois and also the little French green beans. Love ’em. Did you know that the name for New Orleans music — Zydeco — comes from Les Haricots?
    Thanks, this was beautifully done.

  2. Those look great Penny. I have to check out that book. It sounds like something I would love.

    Sending safe traveling wishes to David.

  3. I love Richard Olney. I had his book SImple French Food but can’t find it at the moment. This looks delicious {love those Panko bread crumbs!}

    I hope David has a safe and wonderful trip and you, too!


  4. That picture of your granddaughter kissing David is priceless. Safe travels for David and have fun in Alaska!

  5. Donnie says:

    Wishing David safe travels and I know he’ll be anxiously waiting for you to arrive. That is a lovely way to serve the green beans.

  6. Big Dude says:

    I’m growing three types of filet beans that we pick young and thin. I grew up eating green beans that were cooked all day and still prefer that, but I guess I should try to learn the quick saute – still a little crisp version. Yours look delicious.

  7. racheld says:

    We’ve been enjoying the haricots verts from SAM’S, of all places—I know, they’re packed in cellophane and may be a week old, but they are just so tender and flavorful.

    And very small. They come in two one-pound packs, connected on one side, and have been just wonderful all Winter and Spring. If July sees the end of the little beans, perhaps you might check those out.

    (Though I’ve been known to stand in the aisle, picking out the tee-nineciest beans from the great grean pile in the grocery cooler).

    And Godspeed to your traveler!

  8. Kim says:

    Wow! Looks yummers! I’m here from the other Penny’s blog – she is such a doll!! I’m glad to meet you. How nice that you get to meet your bloggy friends in person. I was able to meet up with a few last year. Have a wonderful day.

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