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Parmesan green beans


350g green beans

sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter

Parmesan grated


1. Get a pot of water on the boil, cook and blanch the beans

2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat and cook the garlic for 4 to 5 minutes until soft but without colour.

3. Add the beans and heat through, tossing around the pan to mix with Parmesan Season generously and serve.


This trick maintains the integrity of verdant veggies (beans, broccoli) by halting cooking in its tracks so your 'greens' are never limp "khakis'.

* Have a large bowl of icy water ready so the veg can dive straight in as soon as they're out the pot.

* Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil - the same principles as for pasta (page 68): 1 litre of water for every 100g veg and salty as the sea!

* Once it's boiling madly, submerge the veg, put the lid on and wait until the water is back to boiling at its original, rapid pace.

* Remove the lid and, after 30 seconds, start tasting a bean or a broccoli floret to check whether or not it's cooked - tender but still bright in colour.

* The moment it is, drain the veg in a colander and immediately plunge into the ice bath.

need to know

Large pot, lots of water

Use a big enough pot so there's space for the water to circulate around the vegetables. Fill it almost to the brim - initially it might take longer to come to the boil, but the more water there is, the more rapidly it will return to the boil once the veg is added. Strange but true.

Keep it quick

Cooking shouldn't take longer than 5 to 7 minutes. And don't attempt to keep anything warm - it will continue cooking.

Avoid acid when seasoning

Lemon juice discolours cooked greens.


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