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I accidentally grew WAY too many French green beans this year. My first proper summer in the new house I tried raising seedlings for things in the conservatory, and while my French sorrel (not growing that again…) took well once planted out and my squashes did okay before they got ripped to pieces in a hail storm (what has been up with the weather this year?) the French beans were not having any of it, dying within days of being placed in the earth.
So, I planted some more: direct sowing this time, more than I needed because I did not think they’d all take, in front of a trellis that turned out to be way too small for them, and forgot about them. Needless to say I’m in glut territory right now with way too many beans, because of course all the plants from this second harvest came up, and of course they seem to be insanely into my neglect.
While I’m doing lots of the usual things with beans, serving them blanched with unsalted butter and good sea salt as a side to most meals, and packing them into all my curries (we’re having a Thai chicken curry tonight for dinner that will also be getting this treatment) I’ve also had a chance to play around with ways to jazz them up as a side dish, which is where this stunning side dish of Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette came from.
They’re stupidly easy to make to go alongside almost anything you’d serve buttered beans alongside, but instead of blanched they’re charred until soft and slightly smoky in a hot pan in bacon fat, before being finished with a slick of a classic French vinaigrette, sweetened with maple syrup where hot crispy bacon bits have been infusing while the beans cook. Seriously, I’m rather addicted to these beans.
This easy recipe for Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette is the perfect summer side dish to serve whenever you’ve got a glut of green beans on your hands.
2 rashers streaky bacon
300g (10 oz) green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp maple syrup
flaky sea salt
Chop the bacon into small pieces. Heat 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil over a medium high heat in a large, non-stick skillet or frying pan large enough to accommodate all the beans and fry the bacon until crisp.
Meanwhile, trim the beans and make the vinaigrette by whisking together the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, vinegar, mustard and maple syrup.
Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and stir it into the dressing.
Add the beans to the pan and fry for 10-12 minutes, tossing regularly until the beans are just tender and charred.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dressing until it has reduced and coated the beans. Serve immediately in a warm dish, seasoned to taste with sea salt, if required.
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