Haricots Verts Beurre au Citron

This is a variation of the classic beurre blanc (emulsified white butter sauce) that goes well with vegetables, especially artichokes, asparagus, and green beans, as well as fish. The conservative approach calls for melting the butter in a double boiler in order to maintain a sufficiently low temperature to preserve the emulsion, but with care, it can be done even more easily in a pan in direct contact with a gas flame.

For six as a side dish:

  • 1 pound haricots verts (or other green beans)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Trim the haricots verts and cook in boiling water until just tender. Refresh under cold running water.

Boil the lemon juice with salt and pepper in a small sauce pan until reduced to one tablespoon or so. Remove from the heat and swirl in a tablespoon of cold butter. Add the rest of the butter, a tablespoon at a time, rubbing against the bottom of the pan and occasionally placing the pan over a very low flame as necessary to melt the butter.

Reheat the beans if necessary and arrange on a platter. Pour the sauce over them, top with parsley, and serve immediately.