I used to live in Flanders (the top half of Belgium), and figured that the Flemish have a lovely lovely name for green beans – Prinsessenbonen. I mean, how romantic and dainty can ordinary green beans get? Shock to the system – green beans and other beans such as kidney beans, navy beans and black beans are all known scientifically as Phaseolus vulgaris. Ouch! Vulgaris? What a let down.
Oh well, I prefer to go with and build up on the `princess’ bit; so here is a firm family favourite – a salad / side dish recipe that is just so Barbie / fairy princess, whatever. Like the Flemish and scientific nomenclature of the ingredient, the dish is a study in contrasts. Wispy pink onions add a girlish charm to humble green beans, but the crunch packs a mighty punch.
FIT FOR A PRINCESS’ BEANS
– Green beans (string beans, French beans)– 250 gms (wash, top and tail, and cut into halves/thirds. Boil/steam/ microwave for about 3 mins. Beans should be just 3/4th cooked)
– Red onions – 1 large (peel and thinly slice)
– Olive oil – 1 tsp
– Extra virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
– Lemon – 1 medium
– Sea salt if available or just regular salt will do
– Sugar – 1 tsp
· In a non stick pan, heat olive oil to medium heat.
· Add onions, and fry for 2-3 mins, until soft.
· Add lemon juice – the onions will turn pink. If you are cooking many hours before serving, stop at this stage, and do the rest (including steaming the beans) before serving, or else the beans will lose their fresh green colour.
· Immediately add beans and cook for another 2-3 mins. Remove from heat, add extra virgin olive oil, salt and sugar.
· Serve warm or at room temperature, as a salad or a side dish.
Be prepared for your diners to fight over the onions!