• 900g (2 lb) French beans 
  • 1.1 litres (2 pint/5 cups) water 
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 30-50g (1-2 oz/1/4 – 1/2 stick) butter or extra virgin olive oil 
  • salt and freshly ground pepper 
The Method: 
1. Choose beans of a similar size.
2. Top and tail the beans.
3. If they are small and thin leave them whole, if they are larger cut them into 2.5-4cm (1-1 1/2 inch) pieces at a long angle. 
4. Bring the water to a fast rolling boil, add 3 teaspoons of salt then toss in the beans. 
5. Continue to boil very fast for 5-6 minutes or until just cooked (they should still retain a little bite).
6. Drain immediately (The beans may be refreshed under cold water at this point and kept aside for several hours)
7. Melt the butter or extra virgin olive oil in the saucepan, toss the beans in it, taste, season with freshly ground pepper and a little sea salt if necessary.
Rory's Tip: Don't put the lid on while the beans are cooking. Steam will condense on the underside of the saucepan lid and fall back down onto the vegetables. This will leach the lovely green colour out of them and they will lose some flavour.