Organic flat beans. Fresh, snappy and succulent. To squeak or not to squeak? However well done you like your beans, they’re an easy way to add sweet greenery to any plate.
Storage & prep
Will keep for about a week
Storage: Store in the bottom of your fridge. They should keep for a week. When fresh, they’ll snap in half cleanly.
Prep: Your beans may need topping, but not usually tailing. You can do this simply by snapping the tops off with your fingers, or by lining them up in a neat row and using a knife. They are a little too long and ungainly to serve whole, so you’ll inevitably slice them before using. They look prettier sliced at a sharp angle, but the choice is yours.
They are tender enough to eat raw and will lend a fresh crunch to a salad or slaw. You can add them straight to a wok or frying pan and sauté them swiftly. They’ll cook in boiling water in a matter of minutes, depending on how thickly or thinly they have been cut and how much of a bite and a squeak you like. They can be slow cooked in a rich tomato sauce; what you lose in colour and vibrancy you make up for with melting tenderness.
Most often we boil our beans briefly and then dress them up with a few flavourings for a hot side dish or substantial salad – but they can also be quickly fried, or slow-cooked.
Stir-fry: You can fry whole French beans quickly in a little oil over high heat. Move them about
the frying pan frequently and watch as they turn bright, almost luminous, green. An unusual but highly successful combination is garlic and honey: as the beans fry, throw in some roughly chopped garlic and a small spoonful of honey.
Slow-roast: Like braised beans, slow-roast beans lose their bright green colour but develop a wonderfully rich flavour. Toss beans with olive oil, salt, pepper and sliced garlic until well coated. Spread over a roasting tin and roast at 190°C/Gas 5 until soft and caramelised, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how dark you like them. You will need to check on the beans a few times: move them around the tin and turn them over so they caramelise evenly.
Flat beans recipe
Bean & herb pasta
This is a really fresh, summery dish, with crunch from the beans and tangy-ness from the lemon and Parmesan. You can use any green bean (runner, French, finely sliced flat beans, double-podded broad beans, even sugar snap peas). If you're using fresh pasta, as it doesn't absorb as much liquid and swell up quite as much, you might want to use a little more, depending on your appetite.
Serves 4 - 25 min
Flat beans work well with:
Alliums – garlic, onion, shallot
Acid – lemon juice and vinegars
Asian flavours – chilli, ginger, sesame, soy
Cured pork – bacon, ham, prosciutto
Herbs – basil, tarragon
Honey and sugar
Nuts – almonds, peanuts, walnuts
Salty things – anchovies, capers, feta, olives, Parmesan