zydeco extra vert

Zydeco music derived its name from an early Cajun song hit, "Les Haricots Sont Pas Salés" (The Green Beans Ain’t Salty). Contrary to that beginning, the haricots of this recipe do include salt pork, as well as that Avery Island McIlhenny must, Tabasco® Sauce.

  • ¼ cup salt pork, rind removed, diced
  • ¼ cup onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • ¼ cup celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco® hot sauce
  • <salt> and pepper to taste

Trim the green beans by lining them up side by side and slicing off the tough stem ends with a knife. Leave the pretty, tapered tails. Remove the tough string along the spine, if desired.

Put the onions, garlic, and salt pork in a microwave casserole dish and nuke at high setting for about 3 minutes, or until the fat is rendered and the onions are soft. Turn the cooked mixture out on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Return the dish; add green beans, celery leaves, and one ounce of water. Microwave on high 2 minutes, let rest 2 minutes, and stir. Test the beans for doneness. Cook one minute longer, stirring after each, until the beans have the desired al dente character. Add Tabasco®, vinegar, <salt>, and pepper and serve.

harry covert and caramelized onion

From 1976 to 1993, Paul Wallach hosted an afternoon drive-time radio restaurant talk show in Los Angeles that I listened to faithfully until it left the air. I met him once at a group dinner he hosted at the Chez Sateau Restaurant in Arcadia, CA. I remember him lauding Harry Covert several times on air when describing a certain French restaurant being reviewed.

I had to smile when I then realized that haricot vert is, of course, just French green beans. They are a little skinnier (some would say daintier) than the regular ones found in my supermarket, but they taste about the same in situ. With a little salt port, garlic, and onion, however, they become an outstanding accompaniment to almost any entrée. I generally reserve it for special occasions because it does contain some hog fat.

  • 2 oz salt pork, diced
  • 2 oz onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • ½ lb haricot vert or string beans
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • pepper and <salt> to taste

Put the salt pork, onion, and garlic in a covered microwave dish and zap at high heat for one or two minute intervals, stirring between each episode, until the onion has darkened. Add the beans, wine, and seasonings and microwave on high again, one minute at a time, stirring in between, until the beans are al dente. Correct the seasonings and serve.