New Orleans-Style String Beans

Serves 4 to 6
Our youngest son’s soccer coach had coached him for several seasons before I discovered the man’s passion for cooking. When I asked what his favorite recipes were, he automatically mentioned this one. It’s absolutely sensational. He wrote out the recipe for me; it describes the beans as having a “spicy-sweet taste and good texture. They cool off quickly and are best eaten when cooled off, so no need to rush to serve them hot.”


  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, stem ends removed
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • Large pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (enough to lightly cover the pan)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup Cognac


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and garlic. Blanch for 3 minutes and drain.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices.
  3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, honey, and the spice mixture. Let the honey “melt” together with the olive oil and spices.
  4. Pat the drained beans and garlic cloves dry with paper towels, add them to the pan, and toss gently to coat them in the honey-spice mixture, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner, pour Cognac into the pan, and flambe the beans until the alcohol is burned off. To flambe, ignite the alcohol by carefully touching the edge of the pan with the flame of a match or lighter. Novices are best off using fireplace matches or wooden kitchen matches instead of flimsy paper ones. Place the beans and garlic in a dish and serve, drizzling the remainder of the honey-spice mixture over them. Season with extra salt, if needed.
cook's note
Note: Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning is available in most well-stocked supermarkets. To make an equivalent spice mixture, combine ½ teaspoon coarse salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a large pinch of paprika.

Trimming String Beans: Only the tough stem end of a string bean needs to be removed before cooking. The bottom tip is just a very narrow part of the bean.
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