French Green Beans with Shallots

5 stars based on 4 votes

French-Green-Beans-with-Shallots

How can a vegetable recipe with only one tablespoon of oil and three simple ingredients — olive oil, green beans and shallots —  be so delicious? It’s all in the technique, which combines slowly cooking shallots in olive oil to coax out their natural sweetness and simmering beans in a bit of water until tender.  

ingredients

It’s important to use French green beans, which are longer, thinner, sweeter and more tender than most American varieties. They are usually labeled Haricot Verts, which is French for green beans — haricot meaning beans and vert meaning green — and you can often find them bagged and trimmed at the supermarket.

cooking-shallots

Begin by thinly slicing the shallots into rings and cooking them slowly in olive oil until soft, sweet and mellow.

softened-shallots

Next, add the haricots verts and cook a few minutes more.

sauteing-beans

Add the water, little by little, and simmer until the beans are tender and the pan is dry.

simmering-beans

Be sure to cook the beans all the way through — if they are too al dente, they’ll be squeaky and bland. Also, be sure that all the water in the pan is evaporated before serving, otherwise the flavor will be diluted.

cooked-french-beans

Season to taste and enjoy!

French-Green-Beans-with-Shallots

French String Beans with Shallots

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • About 1 cup water
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) haricots verts (French string beans)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and mellow, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the haricots verts, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the water and cook, stirring frequently, until the water evaporates, 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking until the beans are tender and the pan is completely dry, 5-6 minutes. Test the beans for doneness. If they need more cooking time, add a bit more water and cook until done; just be sure to cook off any remaining liquid in the pan before serving, otherwise the flavor will be diluted. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Makes such an elegant and delicious side dish, have made it many times. Goes with any entree.

    - Cindy on July 23, 2014 Reply
  • Loved this recipe. Served it with the grilled pesto shrimp. So easy to grill both dishes at the same time on the grill.
    5 stars

    - Shari Lunde on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my favorite way to have fresh beans straight from the garden. There is no taste comparison. Thanks for the recipe.

    - Angie Mehrtens on July 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this a couple of times already. I used to just boil the beans till soft and added salt and pepper. This tastes much better.

    - TS on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Such an easy way to spruce up green beans! Worth the expense of shallots over onions.

    I’ve also added small bits of lemon zest in the past that’s gone over well, particularly in the spring time.

    - Sam M. on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • Hi – this is a staple in France and was regularly served up by by family there. Frozen beans were steamed slightly first and finished up in the frying pan with the shallots and a clove of garlic (it was France, after all!)

    - Trasy Doran on May 24, 2014 Reply
  • I prepared this for a dinner party and it was the talk of the table! Even the children loved them.

    - Kimberly on April 19, 2014 Reply
  • In the winter I must use frozen green beans but I can never get them to cook up well. If I were to use frozen bean in this recipe how would you suggest cooking them so that they are tender but not limp and tasteless.

    - Faye Morris on January 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Faye, To be honest, I haven’t had much luck with frozen green beans either. The problem is that they are typically cooked before being frozen, so they don’t work well in recipes like this one. I’m usually able to find fresh haricot verts, bagged and trimmed, year round in my regular supermarket. That said, I’ve heard from several readers that the Trader Joes frozen haricots verts are very good, but I haven’t tried them myself.

      - Jenn on January 17, 2014 Reply
  • This is a great way to cook green beans!

    - Arthur in the Garden! on January 15, 2014 Reply
  • Sounds good – I usually buy frozen Haricot Verts from Trader Joes – How would you modify this using frozen beans?

    - Amanda on January 15, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Amanda, I am not familiar with Trader Joe’s brand. Are they fully cooked?

      - Jenn on January 15, 2014 Reply
  • Those do not look like shalotts to me, they look like a red onion. Which are they?

    - Barbara Watson on January 15, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Barbara, They are shallots…sometimes they are more purple in color.

      - Jenn on January 15, 2014 Reply

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