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1 lb Haricot Vert (thin, tiny green beans) – trimmed
¼ lb (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (hold a couple stems of thyme for presentation)
¾ to 1 lb Shitake mushrooms, divided – stem and thickly slice the remaining shitakes (Hold a couple whole shitakes for the presentation)
Fresh ground pepper & sea salt to taste
Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Don’t be shy with the salt (preferably Kosher salt). Taste the water and the salt is correct when you can taste it in the water.
Line a sheet pan with a tea towel which will hold the haricot vert as you bring them out of the boiling water.
When the water comes to a boil put in ¼ of the haricot vert at a time and pull them out of the water after 1 to 2 minutes (you want them tender crisp) and let them drain on the tea-towel-lined cookie sheet. Continue the process until all the haricot vert have been boiled. DO NOT COVER THE POT – the haricot vert will become gray.
Once all the haricot vert are pre-cooked, they can be reserved to finish the dish immediately or refrigerated for later preparation.
In a large sauté pan, one that can hold all the haricot vert, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, once melted add the thinly sliced shallots and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and fresh thyme. You want the shallot to just start turning brown, caramelizing.
Add the sliced shitakes. They will release their liquid and once that starts to evaporate add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Once the additional butter has melted add in the haricot verts. Toss with other ingredients in the pan. Taste. Make sure the haricot vert are heated through.
Finish with fresh ground pepper and sea salt (fleur de sel, celtic grey or Hawaiian red – a coarse sea salt).
Put the haricot vert in a heated bowl or heated platter. Add the reserved thyme stems and whole shitakes for presentation.
Serves 6 to 8
—Dara Bunjon (aka Dining Dish)