Summer Recipes
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Green runner beans fried in garlic and olive oil

Green, purple and white runner beans are in season! Yay!

There are hundreds of ways to serve runner beans. The worst way is to boil them to death and serve them unadorned. In the past couple of decades this has been one of the more fashionable ways to try and serve vegetables. Traditionally vegetables were always accompanied with a good dollop of butter or lard – or drizzled in natural olive oils. Ever since natural fats were falsely accused and falsely found guilty of causing our current obesity epidemic they have been banished from accompanying vegetables to the supper table. Yet, when vegetables are served plain with no natural fats to stimulate the taste buds who can blame the kids for refusing to eat their greens?

Happily for us there are plenty of traditional ways to serve runner beans and for the best recipe we must once again turn to France to lead the way. Green runner beans are growing two a penny at the moment. So, if you find the market offering you haricot verts by the bucket loads in the coming weeks at dirt cheap prices or you find plenty growing in the garden here is a simple, traditional and truly delicious way to serve green runner beans . I have yet to meet anyone who refuses to eat this – even children wolf these ones down.

For ways in which to preserve the glut keep an eye open for my forthcoming chapter on some handy tips for preserving the summer and early autumn glut of fruit and vegetables “The Urge to Preserve”.



500 gr of green runner beans

A pat of butter

A good glug of olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 diced Charlotte



Top and tail the ends of the beans. Fill a shallow pan with three-four centimetres of salted water. Allow the beans to steam/cook for five to ten minutes. Drain the beans. In the meantime chop or crush the garlic.

Heat a pat of butter and the glug of olive oil in a wide frying pan on a medium heat and begin to fry the chopped Charlotte. When the onion has turned tender add the steamed beans and toss them for three-four minutes in the pan. Finally add the chopped garlic and fry for a further two-three minutes. Give the whole a final sprinkle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. To complete the dish sprinkle a few leaves of Savory known colloquially in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium as bonenkruid or literally translated “beanherb”.

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