French Beans with Garlic

Haricots verts à l’ail

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Sud de France

By Caroline Conran

Published 2012

  • About

I first had this sitting in my friend Suzanne’s garden beneath an olive tree in La Livinière, an excellent wine-village in the Hérault. Cooked by Suzanne’s god-daughter Anne-Liese, a stunning cook, the simple green beans, tasting of summer and of the delicate rose-coloured garlic of Lautrec, added freshness to the grilled duck breasts which accompanied them.


  • 500 g fine French beans, topped and tailed
  • 150 ml crème fraîche
  • 1 plump clove garlic, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper


    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Throw in the beans and let them cook until just tender, 8 minutes is just right for fine beans. Meanwhile simmer the garlic in the crème fraîche in a small non stick pan for about 5 minutes, until the garlic starts to smell fragrant.

    When they are ready – I do not think they develop their flavour properly if they are eaten too crisp and raw – drain the beans thoroughly, refresh them under cold water if you want to serve them later and drain again. When you are ready to serve them, toss them in the cream and garlic mixture and heat them up in it. Season with pepper and add salt if necessary. Serve with roast or grilled meat or chicken – such as the poulet au vinaigre.