Corn w/ Haricots Verts, Soybeans & Basil

"Before I go in there, how do I look?" quipped my friend Jon. We were at a friend's dirty-thirty birthday bash and his ex was supposed to be there.

After rushing from the airport, I knew he hadn't eaten so I brought him some of this dish so he would have something in his stomach before the party, thus delaying him from getting too drunk too soon in front of his ex.

He, of course, had strips of basil in his teeth and I told him that he looked great, "but you should smile more."

Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans

As we walked in, he spotted his ex immediately.  It's hard not to- she's 5'11" and was wearing 4 inch heels.  She's a classic beauty- long dark brown hair, proportional facial features and a flat stomach.  She's great, "everything but her personality," our mutual friend Mike mutters while nudging me every time we're all in one place.  I disagree with Mike though.  It's not her personality, she doesn't have one.

But being a good friend, I did the only right thing in these situations: I got us 2 vodka sodas, his with much more soda.  Jon has the propensity to drink really fast when he's nervous.

I should note that Jon and this girl broke up a few months prior and this was his first time seeing her.  I should also mention that they only dated for 2 months and she broke up with him by email....

I should also mention that her one paragraph email contained the words, "clamly" and "incongruent."

Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans
Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans

By the time I returned with our drinks, Jon was already talking to her so I had the pleasure of saying hello first thing.  She was as charming as ever, like listening to the Charlie Brown teacher, and I just remember thinking about how much I love it when people don't acknowledge your presence.  But go figure, Jon was crazy about her and there was nothing that anyone could say that would make him feel differently.

I left in the middle of someone's sentence -neither of them noticed- and walked over to Mike who asked me if I thought there was any chance of them leaving together.  We both knew that if she allowed it, Jon wouldn't be staying at Mike's house that night.

Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans
Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans

Jon came back over to us about 15 minutes later.  Mike and I just stared at him until finally, Mike's wife said "soooooooo?"

"She's such a bitch.  She didn't even tell me that I had basil in my teeth.  Never date someone who wouldn't tell you that there's something in your teeth."

That was 3 summers ago and Jon has since lost touch with Miss Personality and is currently engaged to someone who tells him if there's food in his smile.

Corn w/ Haricots Verts & Soy Beans

INGREDIENTS: (makes 5 cups)

  • 6 oz. haricots verts
  • 6 oz. soybeans (in pods), shelled and skins removed (3/4 cup when finished)
  • 4 ears of corn, cut off the cob (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, minced (about 3 tbsp.)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (+ more for blanching the haricots verts)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ cup chiffonade of basil

For the haricots verts and soybeans:

-Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
-Have ready and ice water bath for shocking.
-Cut the end stems off of the haricots verts.  In batches, (don’t smother the pan, you don’t want to lose the boil) blanch for about 30 seconds until haricots verts turn bright green and still have a bite.  Immediately place in ice water bath.
-When cool, cut into 1 inch pieces, on a bias; reserve.
-Turn off the heat for the water and add the frozen soybean pods.
-Let defrost for 20 minutes (or until heated through), remove from water and remove from pods.  I go the extra step and remove them from their skins, which is optional; reserve.

For the corn:

-Cut corn off the cob (not too close to the core- you don’t want see orange!)
-In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil.  When warm, add the shallots and garlic.  Sweat until translucent, you don’t want any browning.
-Add the cut corn ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cayenne.
-Mix around corn, coating in shallots and garlic and cook until corn turns brighter yellow, about 3 minutes.

To finish:

-In a large bowl, mix the corn with scallions and lime juice.
-Add the reserved haricots verts, soybeans and chiffonade of basil.
-Adjust seasoning of salt and lime juice to taste.
-Serve warm, room temperature or chilled- your choice!