I believe that a side dish can make or break your dinner menu. Think about overcooked broccoli, undercooked hard potatoes or slimy asparagus. None of that sounds good right? This why I make a lot of salads as side dishes as cooking with vegetables can sometimes be a precarious feat, at least it is for me.
I honestly think I am scarred from my mother’s cooking of vegetables. My wonderful, incredibly funny and fiercely proud Irish mother had no idea how to cook. I didn’t know what food was supposed to really taste like because apart from school dinners of mushy peas and spotted dick we never dined out. So, I just assumed this is what food should taste like. My mum would put the vegetables on the stove with literally a cup of salt at the same time as the meat and cook them for 2-3 hours until there was no trace of what they ever looked like or was supposed to taste like except mushy and salty. Sometimes you couldn’t even tell what you were eating. Most of my childhood, I lived in incredible fear of Brussels sprouts and not being allowed to leave the table until my plate was cleared of them! I still shudder at the thoughts, which occasionally flood into my memory.
For the dinner party I had last month, we started with a signature cocktail of the evening of French 75 paired with a tasty Goat Cheese Cake with Mixed Greens appetizer followed by Coq au Vin (recipe to follow soon) and a side dish of French Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Butter and Herbs. Ending with guest pleasing Madeleine’s and of course more wine.
While I do actually know I am a decent if not quite good cook my confidence in cooking vegetables is still not wholly there. That said, this dish certainly put me in the above average vegetable cooking group and it really was not that hard.
- 1 pound thin green beans (haricot vert), trimmed
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
- 3 Tbsp butter
- Container of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 Tbsp tarragon or basil, chopped fine
- 2 Tbsp chives, chopped fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shaved Parmesan
- Lemon wedges
- Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Boil the beans for 2 minutes. Plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain the beans and pat dry on a cloth or paper towel.
- Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Cook the onions until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the green beans and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add all the herbs and some salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for 1 minute more.
- Serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon wedges
- Use fresh herbs if available. If not, you can used dried, but use a quarter as much.