French Green Beans with Butter and Herbs

Fresh haricot verts, skinny green beans boiled, drained, then sautéed in butter with onions, tarragon, thyme, parsley, and chives.

Use fresh herbs if available. If not, you can used dried, but use a quarter as much.

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin green beans (haricot vert), trimmed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp tarragon or basil, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp chives, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges

Method

1 Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Boil the beans for 2 minutes. Plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain the beans and pat dry on a cloth or paper towel.

2 Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Cook the onions until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

3 Add the green beans and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

4 Add all the herbs and some salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for 1 minute more.

Serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon wedges.

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Comments

  1. Ana

    Thanks for another recipe, these haricot verts certainly look delicious. I usually prepare them in one of two ways (both of them are traditional Portuguese recipes):
    - to eat them cold as a side dish, I boil them until soft with a bit of salt. I let them cool and sprinkle with good quality olive oil and a few finely chopped garlic cloves. Very simple, but very yummy. This can be done either with haricot verts or regular green beans
    - the second recipe is usually done with regular green beans, but here it goes anyway: boil them with salt, but don’t let them get too soft. Let them cool a bit and coat them in a mixture of beaten eggs, flour and water. Fry them in sunflower oil until golden. This can be done using either the whole green beans, or cutting them in pieces and then frying spoonfuls of the green bean-egg-flour-water mixture and making a sort of patties.

  2. sarah

    Oh, I love fresh beans so much! But my husband always complains that they are too squeaky to eat! So to get around this I cook and then puree them into a carbonara-type pasta sauce. And I call it velvety green carbonara… and he loves it! :-)

  3. Cheryl

    I absolutely love it when my store or roadside market has fresh tiny slender green beans. They aren’t advertised as haricot vert, however, you can pretend, can’t ya?

    At Easter and Thanksgiving, I’ve been known to cook 4.5+ lbs of whole green beans for dinner for my family, and I love doing it in my very large crock pot.

    I use either my own, or store bought sodium free chicken stock, sliced garlic cloves, and a few smoked turkey necks (low fat, full of flavor). I start the pot on high for 1.5 hours, then reduce to low and cook them for 6-8 hours, turning the beans with a large pair of tongs every hour or so. When finished, I drain the beans (reserving the broth for another meal and put in freezer), top the beans with a nice couple tablespoons of light, salt free butter on the top of the large, large pile of beans, and sprinkle lightly with crushed sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Wish I had some now!!

    • Patty Iles

      Regular green beans…not French. I don’t leave the beans whole but break them in pieces about an inch long. But the secret of good Southern Green Beans is yes…cook them all day. I use bacon grease or small amount of “fat back” as seasoning along with black pepper and a little salt (amount depends on how much salt pork/fat back you use) A whole onion placed on top for about the last 2 hours also adds a wonderful flavor.

  4. kotomi

    I love these! They look great. I saw a recipe in Gourmet mag (RIP :() a few years ago that I’ve been using ever since. Just some soy sauce, garlic, and a little bit of oyster sauce. SO delicious!

  5. Lee

    Our girls will eat green beans any way you can make them. Two favorites are either with butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and dill or with olive oil, shallots, white balsamic vinegar and tarragon. I personally like them with olive oil, garlic, dill, fresh tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta. That is, if I can get the girls to stop eating them while they snap them!

  6. Michelle

    I make an Asian inspired version sauted in sesame oil (or olive oil) with grated ginger, fresh minced garlic, red pepper flakes (for heat) and either soy sauce or ponzu! These look delicious too, I’ll try them soon.

  7. PatA

    This recipe is really good: Haricot Panaché

  8. crazy richard

    I do Dutch Oven Catering( the old cast iron kettles) catering in Sothern Utah. I fix my beans with diced bacon, diced onions and Italian Dressing. This dish is well accepted.

  9. Shaheen

    Chives with green beans sound lovely. I am not a big fan of them, but I do like them sometimes with toasted hazelnuts too.

    That first photo of the green beans in the blue bowl is too pretty.

  10. Rossella

    Hi there, my fave condiment for haricot verts is a marjoram/garlic citronette. Here are the proportions:
    1 spoon extra virgin olive oil (sorry, no alternative …well maybe regular olive oil is ok but life is too short not to use EVO)
    2 spoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 garlic clove sliced very thinly
    1 spoon FRESH marjoram
    salt
    freshly grated pepper

    Emulsify lemon and oil, add salt and pepper then add the garlic slices and and toss unto the haricots so they are well covered. Sprinkle the marjoram. Let sit for at least 15 minutes at room temperature before serving, if you have time though let it sit for longer.

    You might want to note that such litlle garlic adds perfume to the citronette but not to your breath ;) enjoy :D

  11. Robyn

    After steaming the beans, I saute mine in a little bacon grease, black pepper and celery seed. Cover and cook until browned. Yummy!

  12. Jody

    These sound delish. I make greens similarly, but first cook a few slices of bacon, save some of the drippings to cook the beans and onion in and add in the bacon at the end along with plenty of course salt and fresh pepper.

    It’s what’s for supper tonight.

    Jody

  13. Linda

    Blanch beans, then add onions, chopped tomatoes and simmer for a bit and, at the end, fresh basil is added. The fresh basil does something really special.

  14. Denise

    Such a lovely little bean….I mix them with a little pesto….heavenly!

  15. Tina

    I make mine similar to Linda’s. Blanch them and add to sauteed onions with a bit of chicken broth and butter. Saute until beans are tender and then add fresh chopped Roma tomatoes at the end along with fresh or dried tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. I like the tarragon with the tomato almost as much as the fresh basil.

  16. Anna

    Along with mushrooms, green beans were one of my most detested vegetables when I was a kid. I hid green beans in my napkin, in the heating vents, spit them out in the toilet, anywhere I get rid of them undetected. In fact, I took great pains to avoid all green beans until I was at least 30 yoa. Seriously. I really hated green beans, esp the texture. The one exception was canned French-cut green beans (they are very soft) served chilled in Italian dressing or in 3 Bean Salad. I had no problem with green beans prepared that way. Go figure.

    I think part of my hatred of green beans was that my mother too often served green beans over-cooked and all too often, they were frozen green beans from a bag (often with mixed vegetables – ugh) or in the dreadful green been casserole. My dad grew green beans in the garden every year, but my mom froze a lot for winter use so there was no escaping those over cooked stringy torture devices. Perhaps it was the variety, too, because I remember them as thick and with an unpleasant texture. Perhaps they were over-mature as well as overcooked?

    After age 30 I was traveling the country for work and had many opportunities to experience “fine dining”. I discovered that green beans weren’t quite so bad any more (but those fine dining servings rarely had more than 4-5 beans along with a baby carrot or two – much smaller than my mother’s gargantuan servings).

    Then I met my eventual husband and experienced “his” green beans, cooked, but still crisp, and served with toasted walnuts and bleu cheese. Heaven!

    From them on I have loved fresh green beans (as long as they aren’t overcooked, frozen, or in green bean casserole). I especially like the haricot verts you highlight here, but Blue Lakes are great, as are Asian long beans.

    Green beens need to be very fresh, so to me that means local and seasonal, not tired beans shipped from who knows where and picked who knows when. Our CSA’s green beens are so fresh and sweet that we eat them raw…

  17. Cheryl

    We make the “skinny” haricot vert beans alot. My husband’s favorite are blanched in the microwave for a few minutes, shocked in an ice bath, and drained. Lemon juice, lemon zest, a little salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil is all we use. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Really good with grilled chicken or fish. Elegant and excellent!

  18. Mary

    Sorry, Anna. We love harcot verts frozen from Whole Foods. I put bean in a covered sause pan with frozen green peas and a handful of sliced almonds. Slowly let them defrost and heat; add a tablespoon of olive oil and do a quick crisping and they are like fresh!

  19. Jennifer(Savor)

    Love Haricot Verts (sounds so fancy so my friends laugh when they see them and I explain what they are). I enjoy making compound butters and just tossing a pat (or two…or three) on top. Herbs + Butter + Veggies = Happiness

  20. subrina

    I love to cook them in butter then add garlic/onion, salt, pepper, zest of 1/2 a lemon, and juice of 1/2 a lemon. They are great.

  21. Denise

    And how do we pronnounce these exactly? Hmmmm? They look delicious, and will give them a try — once I know how to say what they are!

    Hmm. Haricot verts = are ree KOH vair ~Elise

  22. Omeghan

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh ..Green beans!
    When cooking them I simmer/ saute them in chicken bouillion instead of plain water and use a cube of Knorr Suisse Chicken Bouillion to a cup water (or to taste).

    A great receipe that I adore is from my Ukrainian granny & my dad (late)…..to me its really Summertime when I make this one! String Beans & Sour Cream !

    2 Cups each Green & Yellow beans cut into 3rds / 4ths (sort of bitesize). A shredded carrot or finely diced And a tablespoon or 2 shredded / minced onion (or to taste). A nice Chunk of butter and 1-2 Cups or so Sour Cream.

    Simmer/ steam green beans first with the carrots (they take longer to cook). You can use chicken bouillion instead of water & omit any salt. Add in yellow beans. Or cook ‘em both separately and mix together when cooked. Add Butter & sour cream reheat on low …serve as a meal, a side or over rice. Enjoy!

    Optional /Garnish with a pinch (or lots) of fresh chopped dill.

    The more sour cream you add… the more sauce!

    Reheats nicely on low heat.. add a bit of sour cream to freshen sauce….and enjoy again!

  23. Jeanette

    Just popped in to say that I made this green bean recipe. I used regular green beans because that is what I had. The beans turned out great.

    Very easy recipe to make too.

  24. Denise

    Thanks for the pronnounciation lesson! My kids said…’Harlot- verts’…literally! Can you only imagine discussing ‘harlots’ around the dinner table? lol. What fun. ( I realize they added the ‘l’ which doesn’t belong..but they’re kids ) Please remember to educate those of us who don’t know or experiment much with different cultural food, how to pronnounce these wonderful and exotic dishes!

  25. Julia @ foodandtheabstracttruth

    This recipe sounds great. I was planning on cooking green beans tonight, and so I think I’ll make this recipe. Thanks!

    As to how we like to prepare french green beans – sometimes I just boil them lightly and then sprinkle them with slivered almonds and a bit of salt. This very simple way of eating them is great when one is having them with a more complex or heavy dinner (e.g. steak) and want something light and fresh to go with it.