Also known as Le Chevrier Vert, flageolet beans are produced by removing haricot beans from their pods while they’re still young and tender. Although their colour diminishes slightly when cooked, these beans are unmistakably green (‘vert’) and are delicious in stews, soups and, of course, cassoulets.
This non-traditional cassoulet substitutes the customary sausage, pork and duck fat with a vibrant pesto-like mix of herbs, cavolo nero, pistachios and extra virgin olive oil.
It’s a beautiful accompaniment for spring lamb or crispy-skinned fish, or can be served tossed with just-cooked spring vegetables.
Begin this recipe the night before serving by soaking the flageolet beans in a large bowl of water. They will double in size. Drain and rinse soaked beans, then transfer them to a pot with stock, water, leek, garlic and salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook beans for 30 minutes or until al dente. Drain beans, reserving some of the cooking water.
Combine sauce ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it resembles a slick pesto. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved bean cooking water to loosen the mix.
Stir still-warm beans through the sauce with a rubber spatula (to protect the beans from splitting). Finely chop remaining dill and add to mix.
Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Serve with grilled fish, roast spring lamp or with blanched green vegetables like asparagus, broad beans, peas and zucchini.