green beans with parmesan cream
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These green beans are actually yellow – apologies in advance to all the indignant commenters. There are some green in the mix, mind you, so I’m not being altogether untruthful. The problem, you see, is that even yellow or purple beans are still green beans.
It’s a little like with white goods, I suppose: they come in mainly silver and black these days. Or brown bread – beige, grey or weird if gluten-free. The colour is arbitrary. And the yellow beans are actually tastier than green coloured ones.
The sauce is a shortcut between mornay and thermidore: an easy way to cook the loveliest and the most versatile cheesy creamy concoction. Use it in any gratin – just provided the veg are pre-cooked. It will work in fish pie. Mix in a touch of shellfish stock and it’s fit to put on a lobster. And for a less costly version, sans homard, cook a few prawns, a scallop and a mussel or two clams under the Parmesan cream blanket – truly divine.
The dish makes an elegant side; serve it over rice for a veggie main and throw in slices of cooked chicken for the meat option. And the biggest twist is that it can replace custard in favourable company of baked fruit or bread and butter pudding – but that’s another story…
green beans with parmesan creamServings: 2-4Time: about 45 minutes
- 400g (1 pound) green or yellow (French or Italian) string beans; or a mix
- 250ml (1 cup) double cream
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp honey
- 50g (½ cup) grated Parmesan
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp. flaked almonds, toasted
Wash, top and tail the beans. Place them in a large pan with water, bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking further.
Heat up the cream with the salt, pepper, honey and mustard; bring it to the boil and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens and reduces by about a quarter. Take it off the heat and stir in most of the Parmesan. Stir a heaped tablespoon of the sauce into the egg yolk in a small bowl and return the mix to the sauce pan. Stir well.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Place the beans in a gratin dish; spread the sauce evenly over them, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the toasted almond flakes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and lightly scorched on top. Serve immediately.