July plot to plate: French bean salad

Plot 51 French beansWith this month’s July plot to plate main ingredient being the French bean, I had to turn to Larousse Gastronomique.

Fresh beans, with edible pods (green beans) includes the French bean (haricot vert), called the string bean in the United States, and the runner bean.

The colour varies in different varieties from pale green or yellow to dark green, sometimes spotted with purple. Grown at first for their seeds, it was not until the end of the 18th century, in Italy, that the whole pods began to be eaten. In France they were still rare and expensive throughout the 19th century.

Plot 51 Cherokee trail of tears climbing French beanI’ve grown my ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ climbing French bean from the bean pods and planted out in late May. It produces purple flowers and is a pale green with tints of purple variety. It has been a prolific harvest.

Plot 51 Cherokee trail of tears climbing French bean

French bean salad

Cook the beans just long enough for them to remain slightly crisp. Drain them, and dry off any remaining water. Cut them in two an d leave to cool. Add a few chopped spring onions (scallions) and some well-flavoured vinaigrette. Mix and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Plot 51 French bean salad

Alternatively, the beans can be tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with pine kernals, and arranged in a lattice with long strips of marinated red (bell) peppers.

A recipe from Larousse Gastronomique, [Hamlyn].

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