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flat green beans

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Ireland has THE BEST green beans in the entire world! It’s actually difficult to categorize the “Irish green beans” as beans and as vegetables. They are more like long green pieces of sweet delicious candy!

This is not a matter of personal opinion, it is a fact!

I have never seen green beans like these in any grocery store or farmer’s market in Arizona. Never!

flat green beans

I searched for images on Google by typing in “long, wide, flat, best green beans in the world.” What you see above, is what came up.

Yes, I believe that these are the beans. See how flat and wide they are? Since there is no point of reference, it’s hard to tell how long they are, but I still think this may be them. I’m going to order some seeds and try to grow them for myself.

kitchen rack

When our little group of six began the hands-on portion of the day-long cooking class at Ballymaloe Cookery School, we were thrilled to learn that one of the four recipes we’d be tackling (out of the 18 recipes) was the Gremolata Green Beans.

Ballymaloe kitchens

We prepped the beans, then dropped them in the boiling water to blanch. After they were rinsed and then spread out on a platter to be “set aside” while we made the gremolata, we would snag one or two (or ten) every time the instructor turned away. Exactly like little girls, sneaking candy! Well, except for the Irish young woman in our class, Amie. Somehow Amie restrained herself, but we five Americans – thieves. Common thieves were we.

Above is our instructor with two of the bean-stealing “little girls” from my group.

classmates and instructor

The beans were meant to be shared with the other 30 students for our evening meal. We didn’t care, we wanted to snack on them and have them all to ourselves!

In the background of the photo above are some of the “unfortunates” who didn’t get as many green beans as they were entitled to. In the foreground – is our gremolata prep. The beans are either all gone or just out of view.

Ballymaloe kitchen window

I tried to recreate the recipe at home, using our regular old sub-standard, nothing-like-candy green beans, and they were OK. I’m certain that to most uneducated palates, they would be declared delicious and these poor unfortunate “don’t-know-any-betters” would be thrilled with the dish.

My husband, son, and dad thought they were fabulous. But I know better.  Of course, I share the recipe with you below.

My new quest is to get my hands, and teeth, onto the real deal. If you have ever seen, or more importantly know, where to get long, flat, and wide green bean candy, please let me know!

Allow me to apologize beforehand for the out-of-focus photos I took of the green beans during the cooking class.

lunch beans

I may have been high on all the green bean candy I ate and my hands must have been shaky. That must be it – I know you wouldn’t challenge my excellent photography talents!

dinner beans

Gremolata Green Beans

1 pound French or long flat green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into bite-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 heaping tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons toasted pinenuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes.

rinsed cold water

Drain and place the strainer of beans under cold running water, then drain again thoroughly.

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pinenuts. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

heat green beans

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the beans, cook, tossing for 1 minute then remove from heat.

off heat

Stir the gremolata into the hot beans and serve immediately.

gremolata green beans

Serves 4

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1 Brooke Sullivan { 10.08.16 at 7:56 AM }

Hi Linda, your post looked so good and I did some research on the Irish google site to see if I could find the exact variety of those green beans.
One of the chefs at Ballymaloe Cookery School posted another recipe for green beans that he just called “flat beans”. It’s at this link:http://www.cookingisfun.ie/recipes/588/ballymaloe-method-how-cook-flat-or-french-beans
I read that in the UK they are sometimes called “Helda bean” or “flat podded French climbing bean” and these were the links I was looking into to purchase for my garden:
1. *Climbing Bean ‘Helda’ – Duchy Originals Organic Seeds – http://www.thompson-morgan.com/vegetables/vegetable-seeds/pea-and-bean-seeds/climbing-bean-helda-duchy-originals-organic-seeds/gwd4740TM
“One of the few stockists of these excellent beans. Smooth, stringless, tasty, easy to grow. Fair price, fast delivery, well packed. Recommended.”
2. *French Bean ‘Helda’ Climbing https://www.sarahraven.com/french_bean_helda_climbing.htm
Recommended by foodie friends, a delicious, very tender flat bean which excels in taste trials. An excellent old-new variety to try.
3. *Algarve French Climbing Bean Seeds – (American website) http://parkseed.com/algarve-french-climbing-bean-seeds/p/05763/

I hope this info helps 🙂

2 Linda Hopkins { 10.08.16 at 9:26 AM }

Awesome! Thank you, Brooke for all the research and links! Now if only we could find them in Arizona markets.

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