The combination of hazelnuts, lemon and shallots in these French Green Beans elevates this side dish to a completely amazing level. You'll definitely want to come back for seconds!!
Well, by now you probably know that veggies are really not one of my favorite things, however, green beans are on the shortlist of veggies that I actually like. When you add some simple, fresh seasonings to them, they become simply wonderful! To me, green beans and Easter go hand-in-hand so with Easter quickly approaching I wanted to share one of my favorite green bean recipes.
This recipe uses a few fresh ingredients, some of which you likely already have on hand.
What are French Green Beans?
This recipe uses french green beans or haricot vert. What's the difference you might ask? French green beans are thinner and more tender than traditional green beans. They are harvested sooner than traditional green beans, making them more flavorful. I pretty much use them exclusively when I make any dish with green beans.
- European Butter: Since butter is one of the key ingredients in this dish, use the highest quality butter you can afford.
- Hazelnuts: I generally buy whole hazelnuts and then chop or smash them into smaller pieces.
- Shallots: Fresh shallots are best for this recipe so you get maximum flavor, however, in a pinch freeze-dried shallots would also work.
- Lemon zest: Be sure to use fresh lemons for zesting so you get a nice, bright flavor from the zest.
- Pantry staples: sea salt
Making Green Beans
This recipe only takes a few steps and since the beans cook quickly you'll want to have everything prepped before you start cooking.
Trim the green beans. You'll start by rinsing the beans and then and trimming the stems off. While you certainly can remove the stems by hand, this takes forever! So a quicker and easier way to do this is to arrange small groups of the beans with the stems all pointing the same direction and then cut the stem end off the entire pile at the same time. No worry if they aren't all even - no one will notice!
Make the butter. You'll find a lot of green bean recipes that call for sauteing the beans in butter. Instead of cooking them in butter, I use a compound butter added at the end to ensure all the beans get coated evenly and the flavors stay fresh and bright. Compound butter is simply about combining softened butter with other seasonings. If you want to know more, check out this post about how to make compound butter.
Steam the beans. For this recipe, you'll want to use a sauté pan with a lid. Once you add the water, cover the beans and cook them until the water evaporates. Resist the urge to open the lid, but do keep an eye on them, as there should be a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan until right before you remove them from the heat.
Add the compound butter. This step is where you add all the flavor to the dish. Toss the beans with the butter using a pair of tongs. It's ok if you have a few larger clumps of butter as they will melt as the beans finish cooling off. You can leave the beans in the warm pan for a few minutes until you are ready to serve.
The combination of shallots, lemon and hazelnuts in this recipe is a little bit addicting - I could pretty much eat the entire dish in one sitting if I didn't exercise a bit of self-control!
For a non-holiday meal, they are great with roasted or grilled chicken, a nice filet, or even a piece of grilled halibut.
More side dish ideas
For more interesting side dish ideas try these Individual Potato Gratins or these Simple Roasted Carrots with Cumin, Honey & Ricotta.
tools you may want for this recipe
Microplane zester – This is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It’s especially handy for zesting citrus and grating hard cheese.
French Green Beans with Hazelnut Butter
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts
- 1 pound French green beans, rinsed and trimmed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup water
- Make the compound butter. Mix the butter, shallots, lemon zest and hazelnuts in a small bowl until combined. Refrigerate while the beans are cooking.
- Steam the beans. Place the beans in a sauté pan and sprinkle with salt. Add the water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 6 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, until all of the water boils off. Immediately remove from heat.
- Finish the dish. Spoon butter mixture over the beans. Using a pair of tongs, toss the beans until all of the butter is melted and the beans are coated. Serve immediately.
This post was originally published in April 2019. It was updated in March 2021 with some new information and photos. No changes were made to the original recipe.