The Parisian Bean Salad Ina Garten Can't Resist

Ina Garten is a well-known VIP on the lofty list of food celebrities who are also die-hard francophiles. If you follow her on social media, you may have come to live vicariously through her by way of her frequent dispatches from the city of lights. 

She gives ample air time to her favorite boulangeries, pâtisseries, and fromageries — one Garten-approved cheese shop has been known to deliver to French presidents — when she flies there from her verdant estate in the Hamptons.

When she's not abroad, Garten often evokes the flavors of France in her kitchen. You'll find French-inspired recipes peppered throughout her roster of cookbooks, from individually portioned coquilles Saint Jacques to raspberry tarts to classic French 75s to wash it all down. Her book "Make It Ahead" features a recipe for a green bean salad that's perfect alongside warm warm phyllo-wrapped goat cheese. Make it at home and pretend you're at a bistro on the Seine. 

As simple as it gets

Ina Garten's "store-bought is fine" maxim applies perfectly to her recipe for French green bean salad with warm goat cheese

She starts by slicing a 12- to 16-ounce round of Bûcheron goat cheese in four half-inch slabs and folding them each into four layers of phyllo dough that are separated by melted butter and breadcrumbs. After that, there's very little prep work or finesse involved, meaning the most important part of nailing the recipe is securing quality ingredients from your Frenchiest market. 

While the cheese pastries are baking in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, all that's left to do is boil a handful of trimmed haricot verts in salted water for three minutes. While they cool off in an ice bath, Garten has you whip up a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallots, salt and pepper, and dill. Et voilà: lunch is served. 

Haricot verts versus green beans

If you're shopping for Ina Garten's French-inspired recipe and can't find French green beans, also known as haricot verts, life will go on. That said, the different labels on French and not-French green beans are not just a marketing gimmick. The ones Garten calls for are harvested young in the summer months, giving them a supremely tender bite. They also appear longer, straighter, and thinner than standard green beans. 

Because of their strong, vegetal flavor, haricot verts are particularly well-suited to simple recipes. Ina Garten tosses them with a no-frills vinaigrette, while a recipe in Julia Child's "The French Chef Cookbook" calls for butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and parsley. 

In both cases, there's no need to add the beans to a sauté pan. Instead, a quick blanch in boiling water will bring out the beans' green color and give them a tender-crisp bite.