(Recipe #19, page 54)
Choose beans that are tender but not grassy; if you want to make a really fine dish remove the yellowish-green heads and cook the unwashed beans in water at a rolling boil. It is important to add them in batches and not cover them, skimming carefully, as they cook rapidly. But they must be completely tender, even if they are to be stewed. The belief that the beans will become more tender as they stew is quite wrong. When they are half cooked add salt. When they are totally tender, pour them into an earthenware colander (tin will discolor them), pour boiling water over them, and cover them quickly to preserve their white color – but be careful to keep them quite hot. Before serving, stir them with plenty of butter and parsley, or when serving them pour boiling hot melted butter and parsley over them, or pass separately.
Cooking time 1 hour.
Boiled ham, half a pig’s head, pork chops, and smoked pork belly are the favorite accompaniments.
Note: When you want the beans to be especially white, pour a generous amount of milk into the water for boiling before adding the beans. Put them in the water before it comes to a full boil. If the stove is not hot enough to bring the cooking liquid back to a boil quickly, the beans will remain tough no matter how long they are cooked.
Translated by David Green.