Les Haricots Coco

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I’m not sure why these are called coco beans, as opposed to cranberry or Borlotti beans as they’re known in the States, but haricots coco is certainly a charming name and much more fun to say.  They’re one of my favorites, and are in the markets now, spilling brightly from their baskets under today’s grey sky. 

Utterly simple to prepare, they pop easily out of the pod and into the pot.  All you need are a few leaves of fresh sage and water to cover, and you’re ready to go.  Oh, and more time than you’d think.  These fresh beans take about 45 minutes to simmer to tenderness, so put a pot on the stove well in advance of dinner.  When they’re soft and creamy, gently stir in some fruity olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Voila!  These are delicious warm as is, but are also nice to stir into a little mélange of corn and Romano beans as I did the other night, or even to add to a room temperature salad of diced vegetables as I did today.  Probably they’d be good with other herbs as well, but the marriage with sage is so perfect that I can never bring myself to make them any other way.

I’ve been making cranberry beans like this for about 14 years.  In California, in Ohio, in Washington, and now in France.  Some things are universal and travel easily.  Others are particular to place and time, so for those of you who have been asking what we miss from home

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Shel is really missing his espresso machine, while all of us, especially Beppo, are missing our espresso helper cat Sushi.  And just last night I told Shel that I was having my first fit of homesickness and missed…….but today neither of us can remember what it was whose absence I felt so keenly only a few hours ago.

Our new life is a gentle see-saw ride.  This morning I struggled with a French dictation quiz, now my thoughts resist their return to English.  Yesterday American friends were here, today they’re gone.  Last week it was too hot to breathe, today it’s too cool to swim.  Last month they were cranberry beans, today they’re haricots coco.  It’s a c’est la vie day.

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Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France, Posts Containing Recipes

4 Comments on “Les Haricots Coco”

  1. Lori in PA Says:

    Abra, you sound so normal! When I travel in foreign countries, I lose all my good spelling ability in English.

  2. Kristee Says:

    always something to miss but much more to gain, ….it’s small world, you guys have made your own luck, enjoy…….I’m much older now and it’s almost as tho it was someone else’s life…….but not quite….yipppeeeeeeee (juvenile but typical)

  3. blackduff Says:

    The haricots coco are not the beans shown above. The coco beans are a green and flat bean. This is almost the same taste as haricots verts (green beans).

    The haricots coco are available in most village markets. They are used often with fish dishes or sometimes with asian ingredients in a wok. I looked in some of the food dictionaries and it comes out as “Italian Flat Bean”.

    The coco bean is similar to the mange-tout beans, but it’s longer and not as juicy.

    Of course this is way too old to post but what the hell.

    Blackduff

  4. Abra Bennett Says:

    I suppose that it’s possible that the beans are called differently in different regions. Here these are definitely cocos, although we do have coco blanc and coco rouge. That flat Italian bean you refer to, which I grew up calling a Romano bean, is indeed quite different from these, and it’s not called a coco around here.


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