The last time I was in Paris, I consumed bowls and bowls of haricots verts, the skinny little green beans that the French do so well. In real life (a.k.a. America), I hate green beans. They're too bulky, have little flavor, and feel weird in my mouth when I'm chewing them. In France, however, they're thinner, more delicate, and have a decidedly sweeter taste. Plus, they're always prepared simply--just boiled in hot water for a few minutes, then dressed with good olive oil and sea salt. Delicious. When I saw a basket full of haricots verts at Eataly over the weekend, I immediately scooped up a few handfuls to eat at home. Makes for a good afternoon snack or a simple, healthy side for dinner.
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Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Haricots verts, ends trimmed
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in an 8-inch saute pan over low heat. After a minute, add the garlic and cook it slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, until it has gone a pale gold and is sweetly aromatic, maybe starting to brown a bit around the edges. Pull pan from the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well. When the pot is boiling furiously, drop in the beans and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes, just until they're past that raw, crunchy stage. You can test doneness by simply grabbing one out of the pot and biting into it.
Transfer the beans to a platter or large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss them with the oil and garlic. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
SUPPER CLUB PICK
My after-school snack was a sacred ritual. I sat on the carpet in my parents' bedroom at a low table, the television turned to "I Dream of Jeannie," and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich cut into neat squares. I wasn't fussy about crusts. I just loved the sticky pairing of creamy peanut butter with syrupy golden sweetness drizzled from a honey bear in diagonals across the soft white bread. Nothing else--save for maybe apples and peanut butter in a pinch--could have made for as sweet an