Skinnier, more tender, and more delicate in flavour than the popular Baguio beans (tho our Bauko farmers believe they should be called Bauko beans), French beans are as easy to prepare. Maybe even easier! They do not have the tough fibrous string running along the length of their pods, saving time when prepping. Wash and trim one end, keeping the tail, which adds a pleasing look to your dish.
French beans love quick-cooking methods, and it’s best to serve them when they’ve turned a vibrant green in the hot pan and are still slightly crisp. They’re great blistered, stir-fried, or sautéed whole or in halves with garlic, ginger, or shallots, and toasted nuts like cashews then topped with crispy leeks. Ate Sinta serves them with a bit of curry powder, which highlights their delicate sweetness.
Blanched, they can be tossed in salads a la Nicoise with steamed potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce greens; or in a pasta salad with spiral pasta, basil (or any-greens) pesto, cherry tomatoes, and olives; even in pancit canton with cabbage and carrots! Cut them into tiny pieces and they can be added to gising-gising or fried lumpia.
They are also known as haricot vert, French for ‘green bean’, and are called such not because of their color but to say that they are still unripe and the seeds inside have not yet fully matured. When they do, however, the seeds can be dried and cooked like other dried beans.