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My favorite bean catalogue to buy from is Vermont Bean Seed Company. They have so many pages of beans to choose from it can be hard to pick. My all time favorite is Maxibel French Fillet Bean—it’s long and thin and full of flavor.
Beans have much more flavor if picked young, so remember not to let them grow too big. I always use bean inoculant too. If you soak the beans in water for a while, add the inoculant, and then plant, you’ll get a much better crop. I also sprinkle a little on the soil after I have planted the seeds. To me, slender green beans are the perfect summer side. Happy picking.
This green bean recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, the brilliant London based chef, has become a Bird Haven Farm favorite.
The not-so-boring combination with shiitake mushrooms and nutmeg makes for a satisfying lunch or a hearty dinner side dish, and gives the haricot vert a whole new attitude.
Takes about 15 min active time, 30 min in total
10 oz french beans, topped
10 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
5 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 bunch of chervil, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Additional salt and pepper, to taste
Fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Drop in the beans and blanch for 4 minutes. Drain, refresh and set aside in a sieve to dry completely.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and half a teaspoon of salt, and sauté over high heat for about 1 minute, stirring the whole time. You want the onions soft, sweet and just turning golden brown.
Add remaining oil, garlic, mushrooms, nutmeg and pepper. Cook on medium heat for another 4 minutes until the mushrooms are golden. Remove from the heat and mix in the beans. Season to taste. Pile on a serving dish and sprinkle with chervil. Serve warm or at room temperature.