I first did these as a side dish to add a fresh and sharp element to a rich, spicy Moroccan-style meal. It’s a lovely way to present very fresh beans at their best and a bowlful on the table will happily go with almost any meal. They are served at room temperature, by the way, which makes them equally good as part of a salad or antipasti starter.
TOP AND TAIL THE BEANS; then cook them in boiling water for a few minutes until just tender. Cool them in cold water immediately. Thinly slice the garlic cloves and put them in a small pan with the olive oil. Heat this very gently for a few minutes to soften the garlic a little just to take the raw sharpness from it. Try not to boil the oil it won’t do any good at all. Leave the oil to cool almost to room temperature before pouring it and the garlic over the beans. Season with salt and pepper. This can be done up to a few hours before serving; but add the lemon just before serving - it can discolour the beans if they are left sitting in it for too long. Also; don’t add all the lemon at first; try a little and taste it.
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