Haricots Verts w/ Balsamic, Peppers & Onion

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Last weekend we were invited to a Passover hosted by my uncle's sister.  My family is always requested to bring a vegetable side dish since everyone assumes that I will be the one cooking, and therefore will not present with something bland and overcooked.  Since my mom knows that I sometimes get annoyed when we have too many potlucks and too many assumptions that I will semi-cater them, she's taken to picking out recipes, buying the ingredients....and then waiting to see if I'll just make the dish.  

In the case of last week, she unsurprisingly chose Ina Garten's Haricots Verts recipe from her Barefoot in Paris cookbook. To her relief, I said I'd do it–but while looking at the recipe, knew that it needed a little something more.  Immediately, I did an Italian job by adding some GREAT quality balsamic (I used this brand, owned by an old culinary school friend of mine), and changed the method (all in one pot rather than also using the oven).

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Because my veggie dishes tend to get reheated for too long whenever I hand them off to someone else, I'll slightly undercook them, which I did for this. Either way it's often a crapshoot, but this time they sat first on the buffet line perfectly warmed.

Needless to say, this recipe is dedicated to Jeffrey.

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Haricots Verts w/ Balsamic, Peppers & Onion

Inspired by Ina Garten’s French String Beans | Barefoot in Paris Cookbook

INGREDIENTS: (makes 10 sides)

  • 24 ounces haricots verts (I used green and yellow)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, small diced
  •  1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt (plus more for blanching beans)
  •  2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper, to taste

1.  Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Have tongs and an ice water bath ready. 

2. Trim any stems and blanch the haricots verts in 4 batches for about 90 seconds (yellow separately from green if you bought both types). Immediately shock in your ice water bath.

3.  Cut the bell peppers into ½” x 1" pieces. Using the same pot, place over high heat and let all residual water completely dry. Add the olive oil and let get very warm (about 45 seconds), and then add the bell pepper pieces. Using a rubber spatula, immediately stir to coat with oil and evenly disperse them in a single layer while in the pot. Turn heat down slightly and cook until the skin is blistered golden-brown, (about 2 minutes). At this time, dice your onion.

4.  While peppers are still cooking, add the onion, salt and mix everything together. Add the balsamic and once again mix everything until balsamic has reduced and coated everything.

5.  Place pepper and onion mixture into a large bowl and mix with haricots verts. Add a little more salt if you think it warrants it.  This dish is great served chilled, but if you'd prefer it warm (also really great), heat at 400 until warm to touch (but beans are still bright green–about 7-10 minutes).

Jamie's Notes:
–A wide-bottomed pot works best for this as you need surface space for the peppers to cook evenly, but use whatever you have on hand.
–If you want to get extra fancy, you can blister the pepper skins and then remove them before you add the onions and balsamic.

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