French beans - notably the finest angel-hair green beans, which need no trimming - are one of my favourite vegetables. There is a tendency these days not to cook them enough, which in my view is as wrong as overcooking them.
Always cook them at a fast boil in masses of lightly salted water and with the lid off the pan as this helps them retain a bright colour. The finest French beans may take five minutes, the slightly larger ones perhaps six or seven. Start tasting after 5 minutes -they should still have some residual crunch but not be raw.
Either serve at once, dressed with a little butter, or refresh in cold water and hold till needed. Reheat by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds.
© 1993 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.