If ever there was an Impressive and Easy way to serve vegetables with an elegant, special occasion dinner, Green Bean Bundles are it!
The work is done a day or two in advance, set aside in the fridge, ready to pop into the oven just five minutes before the meal is about to be served. I don’t know about you, but when I have so much attention going towards a protein dish, appetizers or last minute touches on a dessert, I don’t want the beautifully colorful side dishes to look like an after thought. I promise, you will makes these often and even switch them up for asparagus!
One stalk of leeks will go a long way because they get cut lengthwise, two or three times, giving you four ties out of one leaf. Haricots Verts (thin French green beans) are what I typically use but any green bean you have access to, will work, just not as many will bundle per person. Out of the French green beans, I am able to stack about 15 beans per bundle with only six or so with the fatter green bean.
Ingredients – Makes 4 bundles with lots of leeks left over (make soup with the leeks!)
- Haricots Verts/Green Beans – 12 ounce package (roughly)
- Leeks – 1 stalk, carefully separated into individual stems and washed well. 1 1/4 inch wide leek strip per bundle
- Cherry Tomatoes (optional) – 8 ounces, cut into quarters
- Shallot – 1 small shallot cut into long strips
- Fresh Herbs – a few stalks, Thyme or Oregano
- Lemon – 1, juiced and a little zest
- Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation – Have a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes ready
In a large pot (think like a spaghetti pot), fill it half way with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Carefully add a few stalks of leeks at a time, cover and leave in for just about 50 seconds. Remove the leeks and drop into the ice bath. Repeat with as many leeks as you need to tie the beans.
Once the leeks are blanched, do the same with the beans except leave in the boiling water until they are soft but still a nice green color, just under 5 minutes. Drop the blanched beans in the ice bath (adding more ice if the water is not cold).
Lay the blanched leeks and beans out on a paper towel. Stack about 15 thin beans into your hand and wrap one leek around twice and tie into a knot. The leeks are rather strong to work with, so long as they are not blanched too long.
Once the bundles are prepared they can be placed in a baking dish with shallots, lemon juice, oil, herbs, zest and seasoning drizzled across. Cut tomatoes can be added now too if you are using them. Cover and store in fridge until dinner prep time. Set the dish out to bring to room temp before popping into the oven. They only need to be warmed (covered) in the oven since they have already been cooked. These bundles are just as attractive without the tomatoes too but since it was Christmas when I prepared these, I was looking for the extra color.