Monday, March 25, 2013

St. Barth's Easiest Recipe Ever....Salade des Haricots Verts avec Echalotes

       I posted this recipe last week and the response was terrific, particularly on which is website completely given over to our favorite island.  When I did so, one of the most prolific contributors to the blog, AndyNap added something terrific to the recipe.  While I talked about using bottled Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette, AndyNap went to the trouble of giving us his recipe for the real thing: A perfect home made version.  Now I am a firm believer that home made trumps bottled in every way, so I thought I'd re-post and add AndyNap's  recipe.  It's further down the page, with the rest of the recipe. Bon Appetit!

          Our favorite island has a lot of things going for it food-wise as anyone who has ever been there can attest. But if there’s something missing from the photo on the left, it’s that among the raw milk cheeses and the pates and le jambon, you could practically get scurvy if you’re not careful, as in that pathetic piece of lettuce barely visible in the upper left hand side of the picture.  However, at the beginning of every vacation, I seek out 500 grams. (1.1 lb) of Haricots Verts and an Echalote (Shallot) and make the simplest salad ever.  Haricots Verts put regular green beans to shame.  They are much more tender, with far less “string” than their cousins the string bean.  They are altogether more refined, reminding me of Truman Capote’s observation that the difference between the rich and regular people was that the rich served tinier vegetables. 
         In the old days on St. Barth, it always looked as though vegetables of any kind were simply curiosities and not something people ate on a regular basis.  The Match Supermarket had the most anemic array of unripe tomatoes, lettuce that look like it had been beaten up on its way to the island and root vegetables completely unknown in the outside world.  The SuperMarche U has changed this mightily since they took over from Match three years ago. And it’s here, after a little poking around, that I found my Haricots Verts.  These are not local, in fact, much to my amazement they were labelled as having Kenya as their country of origin.  So not only were these the tiny vegetables of the rich, they were priced to include airfare from Kenya.  I think I blocked the price altogether but I do know it was less than the daily rental car rate. And I am sure I justified the purchase because my Haricots Verts were pre-trimmed.  The eshalotes (shallots) needed for the recipe was under 2 Euros (or $2.66 at the time).  
           But the real bargain is the Vinaigrette aux Fines Herbes, which is a creamy salad dressing and which in the States you can substitute for a bottle of Creamy Champagne or Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing.  (I am sorry, this is my vacation and I am not about to spend it whipping up batches of salad dressing.)   There is actually a whole range of French Salad Dressings at Fairway, if you live anywhere near the store.  
Once I’ve made this sizeable quantity of salad for two people, all week long I can vary it.  Topped with halved grape tomatoes, it’s particularly pretty.  Sliced Radishes take it in another direction.  As do tossing in some slivered smoked almonds.   This piece is now longer than it will take you to make your Salade so here, at last, is the recipe:

Recipe for Salade des Haricots Verts avec Echalotes and AndyNap's recipe for Home Made Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette
Makes 8 – 10 servings as side salad.  Active time 10 minutes.

1- 500 kg. (1.1 lb) packaged of trimmed Haricots Verts
1 large shallot, diced into very small 1/8 inch pieces.
½ cup Creamy Vinaigrette Dressing (Scroll down for AndyNap's recipe)
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Fill a large saucepan with water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add several tablespoons of Kosher Salt to the water.  The salt will keep the color of the Haricots Verts an intense green.
Put the Haricots Verts into the boiling water.  Bring the water back up to a boil and start tasting the beans for doneness.  They should have some crunch but be cooked through.  This will take about 5 minutes.
Drain the Haricots Verts in a colander running cold water over them to stop them from cooking. 

Put the Haricots Verts in a large bowl and add the diced shallots.
Dress the Haricots Verts and shallots while the beans are still warm. Taste and adjust seasoning with Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper.
Serve at once or refrigerate for future use.  Keeps for days.

Recipe for AndyNap's Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard or to taste
1 tablespoon minced shallot
a pinch of sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
3/4 cup olive oil

In a blender or food processor blend the cream, the vinegar, the mustard, the shallot, the sugar, and the lemon juice until the mixture is combined well, with the motor running add the oil in a stream, and blend the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve the vinaigrette over the beans.


  1. This sounds like such a yummy and simple recipe. The photos are also very pretty...

    1. So glad you liked it. Always a pleasure to hear from a fellow food writer. All best, Monte

  2. I got a wonderful response from an old friend who tried Andy Nap's vinaigrette:Monte,
    I made the vinaigrette (Andy Nap) and it was sensational. I mean, the best. Because I'm a tart girl, I cut the oil to only 1/2 cup. Also opened a jar of dijon from Tahiti which means it's from Paris. This recipe is a keeper, easy and will thrill all the franco-philes at my table.

    And as if that wasn't enough, it was followed today by this....

    I'm obsessed with the Andy Nap vinaigrette. For lunch today, I steamed a plate of broccoli and green beans and then swirled a little of it over the veggies.
    Incredible. Instead of smart balance or god forbid butter, I get a luxurious taste on my serving of greens and feel distinctly virtuous.