Runner beans with lemon and garlic crumbs

Chef Nigel Slater recommends serving this as a lovely side dish for grilled fish.


Serves 4 to 6 as an accompaniment

450g runner beans
2 slices from a white loaf
50g butter
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon of chopped sage leaves
1 small handful of chopped parsley
Grated zest of a lemon


Achieving the perfect results

  1. Trim the beans, pulling away any strings and slice them into short, thick pieces. I do this on the diagonal, just as my grandmother did, but it doesn’t really matter.
  2. Drop them into boiling, salted water and boil until they are tender – about five or six minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the bread. Blitz the remaining bread to crumbs in a food processor, then melt the butter in a shallow pan over a moderate heat and add the crushed garlic, sage, parsley and lemon stirring them round in the butter for a minute or so without letting them colour.
  4. Add the crumbs to the seasoned butter and continue cooking until the crumbs have soaked up the butter and are starting to turn pale gold. (You may find you need a bit more butter.)
  5. Drain the beans and put them into a warm serving dish, then scatter over the garlic and herb crumbs.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.