Haricots Verts, or filet beans, is French for green beans and they are usually longer and thinner than regular beans such as the bush lake variety. These slender beans are harvested young, usually when less than 1/8-inch thick. I use to grow this variety in my big 40 x 120′ garden in the country and as I picked them I could not help but munch on one or two – they are so delicious fresh off the vine. Maybe I can make room in my raised beds in the city this year! I highly recommend growing these special little beans; you just have to pick them regularly when they are thin as the flavor is the best then.
So, what is pancetta? It is Italian bacon made of unsmoked pork belly meat that is cured in salt and other spices. American bacon is most often smoked pork belly so with pancetta you do not get the smoky taste. There are actually two types, either rolled or flat and I used the flat variety which is an ingredient in many recipes.
The March issue of The Food Network Magazine is ALL ABOUT BACON! It was hard to decide what to make first and I settled on this bean dish. I do have my eye on a dessert and another recipe where the bacon is dipped in chocolate 🙂 So, if you are a “bacon foodie” get this issue and learn some of the many ways you can incorporate bacon into your sweet and savory dishes.
I love the flavor of these beans; hint of garlic, the saltiness of the pancetta and of course the tender green beans. Ten years ago they were not available in stores; so if I decide not to grow them in my small garden I know I can get them year round at my local grocery store and then of course the Farmer’s Market in season.
Haricots Verts With Pancetta
- kosher salt
- 1-1/4 lbs. haricots verts, trimmed (I always leave the tail on)
- 4 oz. pancetta, diced (I cut it up with my kitchen scissors)
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used 3)
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- freshly ground pepper
- lemon wedges, for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts, bring back to a boil and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, then plunge into a bowl filled with ice to stop the cooking process. Drain again, then transfer to paper towels and pat dry.
Cook the pancetta in a large skillet , stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes – I cooked them a few minutes longer. Remove to paper towels. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring until golden, about 1 minute or so. Next add the panko and cook until toasted about a minute or so.
Add the haricots verts to the skillet and toss and turn the beans until they are evenly coated with the panko/garlic mixture and heated through. Stir in the pancetta and season with pepper if desired. You really do not need any salt because of the salty pancetta. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!
Recipe by cooking with aunt juju