It was the 5pm question. What do I have in the fridge -- and how do I want to make it? My target was a 2-lb bag of haricots verts from Costco (yes, I am a New Yorker with a Costco membership. I am blessed).
Typically I'd do a Chinese stir-fry. You know the one: blistered yet still green, its divots filled with pockets of reduced hoisin.
But then -- these are French beans. Haricots verts. They seemed to call for a Gallic interpretation: a green beans almondine, butter.
But that's really not me and so I compromised with this hoisin beurre blanc. A beurre blanc is basically a warm vinaigrette, made with butter instead of oil. Here, I used rice vinegar rather than the classic white wine vinegar, which is softer than its more piercing cousin.
The result? Well, there's a reason that restaurants add butter to everything. The butter flavor was imperceptible, and yet you knew something was there. A body, a base. I made one pound of haricots verts this way, and you better believe that I'm doing the same with the rest of that bag.
Wash and trim 1 lb of haricots verts. String beans (or Chinese long beans) are fine in this case). Add to wok with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and steam, semi-covered, for 5 minutes until broth has evaporated. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Sautee until sauce is reduced and string beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Top with toasted sesame seeds.