Seared Green Beans with Whipped Feta-3531


PANMASS CHALLENGE WEEKEND: On Saturday and Sunday Jody and the other members of Team Rialto-Trade will make their fifth ride in the annual PanMass Challenge, raising money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  This year’s route, divided over two days, runs 192 miles from Sturbridge, in western Massachusetts, to Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod.  Cancer connects all of us.  This year will bring the team’s aggregate total to almost $500,000.  Please help Team Rialto-TRADE strike a blow for cancer research.  You can make a donation here.  Thank you.


This recipe is so simple I had trouble envisioning exactly what I was going to photograph, which was fine, because given the temperatures of the last couple of weeks, who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen?  Seared Haricots Verts with Whipped Feta and Preserved Lemon will have you in and out in no time and then you can devote yourself to doing what everyone does in hot weather – using the grill while quaffing enormous quantities of beer.  Or, you can simply do what Jody and I did: sit down, pour yourself a glass of dry rosé, add some sliced tomatoes and crusty bread and call it lunch.

I know that there are readers who go all woogly over the taste of naked fresh haricots verts.  Pas moi. In my palate,  green beans need a partner for their brilliance to shine.  But that’s precisely what makes them so appealing – just about any partner will do.  Green beans will go with just about anything you already have in your fridge.  They’re culinarily polyamorous.  They love to be matched with a sharp and salty companion, or sharp and pickled.  You can dress them with just a bit of evoo and vinegar, or a few shavings of Pecorino.  We’re eating them with whipped feta this week because I tasted a slightly different but delicious version of this in one of Jody’s restaurants and it made me sit up and go, God, that’s good!  I don’t know why I sounded so surprised.  Green beans win on versatility.

For the record, while all haricots verts are green beans, not all green beans are haricots verts.  American green beans, also called “string beans” and “snap beans,” originated in American; haricots verts come from France.  String beans are burly; haricots verts are skinny.  Snap beans harvested very young will resemble haricot verts, but the resemblance is only skin deep.  They taste like poor snap beans, not haricots verts.   The latter show their peak flavor while young; if allowed to grow to the size of a snap bean, they become tough.  For the purposes of this recipe you can substitute good old American snap beans, if need be.  The dish won’t have quite the same elegance, but the American beans are just as open-minded when it comes to partners.

So, eat your haricots verts… with whipped feta and preserved lemon, or just about anything at all.  Enjoy.  Ken


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Seared Haricots Verts with Whipped Feta and Preserved Lemon


  • ½ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hot green chili, seeded and minced, about 1½ teaspoons, or to taste depending on how hot the pepper is and how much heat you like.
  • ½ teaspoon dried Greek oregano
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds haricots verts, stem ends trimmed
  • ¼ teaspoon sumac
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Put the feta in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to crumble.  Add the yogurt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, chili, oregano, garlic and lemon juice and process until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  You may not have to add any salt since the feta is salted. This benefits from sitting for a day to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat.  Rinse the beans with water so they have some water clinging to them.  Add the vegetable oil and then the beans and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook for 4 minutes.  This allows them to steam a little as well as sear.  Remove the lid and toss the beans.  Cover again and cook until the beans are completely tender, about 3 minutes longer.
  3. While the beans are cooking, smear the whipped feta over the bottom of a platter or divide it among individual plates.
  4. Toss the beans with the remaining olive oil, sumac and sesame seeds to coat evenly.   Arrange the beans on top of the whipped feta.  Sprinkle with preserved lemon and serve.  The dish may also be eaten at room temperature, or even slightly chilled, which makes it an interesting picnic option.


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Jody Notes:

This recipe was inspired by a dish (okay, I stole it)  from Cory Seeker, Chef de Cuisine at my restaurant TRADE.  He uses nigella seeds in his feta mix, which wasn’t an option for me since I didn’t have any, but you might want to tuck it into your mind as an interesting option to try some time.  

The feta and preserved lemon contribute big acidic and salty flavors to the finished dish, so add less salt to the beans themselves than you ordinarily would – the other stuff will make up for it later.  

Adding rinsed vegetables to a pan with a bit of oil, then covering the pan so things sear and steam is a great technique for a lot of summer produce.   It works with broccoli, summer squashes, onions, eggplant and peppers. 


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39 thoughts

  1. Jody and Ken, this dish looks fabulous. I love the idea of serving it on a pillow of whipped feta! And I have a full jar of home-made preserved bergamots from this winter just begging to be used. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Go team Rialto -Trade!!! Fellow readers please think about donating to this amazing cause as supporting research to kill cancer is imperative!
    Love the recipe and yes, simple is perfect this time of year. Thanks for another great blog!

  3. Fabulous dish, we love beans and most certainly we’ll try this recipe. Mouthwatering presentation as always, Jody and Ken! 👍
    Dina & co x

    • Thank you, Dina. Every spring and summer I have to remind myself how wonderful beans can be, because my default memory of them is of college roommates who only used to eat them steamed – with no salt or pepper! Ken

      • :-) Well, that explains why you two are dishing up so many lovely flavors, spices and delicious feta.:-)
        I learned to love the green beans in Spain many years ago. Bacon-simmered green beans with onions is a much appreciated starter. Today I’d much rather go for your elegant version, mmmmmmh ….

  4. Polyamorous beans–a nice way of saying bland! I have to admit, green beans leave me a bit cold, haricots verts are a bit more enticing, but need a little something. I always have preserved lemons and feta, so I’m definitely going to try this. Nice photos, Ken! Have a great weekend at PanMass Challenge!

    • Thanks, Sally. Crazy times her at the moment. Off to board the dog, then finish making bicycle spring rolls, then load everyone up for Sturbridge! It’s a great event for a good cause. Ken

  5. What a beautiful way to dress up a vegetable. I didn’t know the difference between the beans so thank you! I also love that you use the preserved lemons here. I always forget that I have them. As for the ride, what a great cause. I actually recently watched an Iron Man race and it inspired me. I’ve been ramping up my workouts for the thought of possibly doing one one day. I think I’ll be by you guys last week in August. I’ll reach out. As always, it’s so great to see you guys here. I miss your posts dearly. Have a great weekend! Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

    • Hi, Amanda–It was a great weekend (you’ll see a few pictures next week)–and we did break our goal of $500K! Please call if you make it to Boston (better yet, let me know when you’re coming). But I’m afraid we’re not around after the 20th–taking our daughter off to school, then spending a week on the Cape. Ken

    • Sorry not reply sooner – away this past weekend for the PanMass Challenge. That’s great about the preserved lemons. You should enter “preserved lemons” into our search engine – we use them in a ton of recipes. They really are a killer ingredient. Thanks for the comment. Ken

  6. Those look fabulous. I’ve got to get back into gardening because, unfortunately, nobody seems to grow haricots verts here. (I know you can. I used to do it!)

    • Hi, Michelle–I can’t believe that your part of the world isn’t lousy with haricots verts. As far as I know, there’s no particular challenge to growing them. They are good (with a partner ;-) ). Ken

      • I think people here are just too attached to their ham hock-infused Kentucky Wonders and Romas. Next year, I hope we get a garden going again. (New fence needed.)

    • Hi, Sareta–Glad you liked the haricots verts. I’ve put your Lemon Pickle on my To-Cook list. I’m always looking for food that takes me into new terrain and that recipe sounds great. Ken

  7. Reblogged this on Healthy Lady Venus and commented:
    Am I the only one who thinks this can be an amazing dish for lunch or dinner?! I found this recipe when I was surfing between blogs. The Garum Factory has amazing ideas! I will try this at home.

    What do you think about this mouthwatering Seared Haricots with Whipped Feta and Preserved Lemon? Tell me how yours tastes/looks! Share your thoughts on the comment, share your own cooking experience. I would love to hear from you! Now I’m going to kitchen to try this recipe =D

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