Haricots Verts with Crispy Shallots and Caramelized Nuts
- 1 lb green beans/haricots verts, trimmed
- 4-6 shallots
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp + 3Tbsps butter
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher or Maldon salt
- 1/2 cup pecans
DirectionsSlice the shallots thin (approximately 2mm) and lay them on paper towels to dry. Heat the vegetable oil in a large shallow pan at medium to medium-high heat. Lay the shallots out in the oil and allow them to turn gold brown. Stir regularly to allow them to brown on all sides. Once golden brown, transfer to a dish with a paper towel to drain any excess oil and allow to cool. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the sugar. Add the pecans and stir, allowing the sugar to melt in the butter. Continue to cook until the sugar is completely melted and browns slightly. Lay the cooked nuts out onto a plate covered in parchment paper, sprinkle with the salt and allow to cool completely. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan, add the beans, a bit of salt, and sauté until cooked through. Top with the crispy shallots and lightly chopped pecans.
And now for the details…
So to “finish off” our Quebequoise night, we added a vegetable dish, being haricot verts, or green beans, with crispy shallots and caramelized nuts. Now… for our actual evening, we used walnuts, but when I recreated the recipe (since I kinda forgot to take enough photos the first go ’round), I had no walnuts in the house and used pecans instead. Both were delicious, and I feel filberts and almonds would be equally delicious with this recipe. However, if using the filberts or almonds, it would be a good idea to chop the nuts slightly before cooking, because they are quite a bit thicker and they would not toast through as well.
If you want additional accoutrements to your dinner besides the recipes listed, the suggestions that came from Krystal’s boyfriend, Philipe, was to add pickled beets and… pickles. Apparently sweet pickles are the traditional side dish, and he teased us that it would not be the same with garlic pickles… But… ummm… I am not the biggest fan of sweet pickles, so we settled for pickled beets and garlic pickles and left it at that. (Sorry Philipe!)
Right… the cooking… Let’s start by slicing the shallots nice and thin and laying them out on a paper towel to dry. Drying the shallots will allow them to crisp up nice and easy once they hit the oil, without steaming themselves first.
Heat the oil in a pan on medium to medium-high heat until adding a drop of water pops. Add the shallots to the pan, trying to keep them as spread out as possible, in a single layer. Let them cook, stirring regularly, to allow them to crisp up and get golden on all sides. As they cook, they will soften and break apart, but continue to push and pseudo flip them so that they brown on all sides. Once they have browned, use a slotted spoon to remove them and transfer onto a paper towel on a plate to allow them to drain any excess oil and to cool. If they are soft-ish when you remove them, fret not! As they cool, they will crisp up and be delicious little morsels of shalloty goodness.
Next, let’s caramelize the nuts. Like I said, I didn’t have any walnuts in the house and made this with pecans instead. Equally as delicious, and I made them the same way.
Start by adding the three tablespoons of butter and sugar to your pan. I used brown sugar, but you could replace this with cane or even white sugar instead, since the sugar will brown and caramelize. Allow the butter to fully melt and the sugar should start to kinda stick together in a paste. Add the nuts, and continue to cook until the sugar looks like it is melting into the butter and around your nuts.
Pour everything out onto a large plate lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with your salt, and allow to cool completely. As they cool, the sugar will harden, leaving a nice buttery, sweet crust, and the salt gives that sweet with savoury crunch. I have made these for salads as well, and added a wee sprinkle of cayenne pepper while the nuts were cooking. This led to a deliciously sweet, savoury and spicy topping that was so good, but the cayenne didn’t seem very French, so I left it out of this recipe 😉
Lastly is to cook your beans. The good news: have you noticed how all these steps can be done in one pan?? My husband loves my cooking, but points out that I seem to need to use every dish in our kitchen while I’m preparing meals… luckily, this is all in one dish!
Start by trimming the ends off the beans. Next, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in your pan, then add your beans and little (or… a lot) of salt to the pan.
Cook until the beans have changed to a vibrant green and are cooked to your preferred level of doneness.Personally, I like a bit of bite, so that the beans are still a bit crisp, but feel free to cook as much or as little as you prefer. I also chose to cook my beans at a slightly higher temperature so I would get the level of doneness I prefer, as well as a tiny bit of char. It doesn’t add much flavour, but I like how it looks.
Turn the beans out into your serving dish of choice, top with the nuts and shallots and enjoy.
Now that we have gone through all three parts, I hope you enjoyed your Québecois-inspired meal! Until next time… happy eating!