Dragon’s Tongue Beans: Charred and Chilled

Spicy Charred and Chilled Dragon's Tongue Beans

Isn’t this a pretty bean? It’s a sweet bean too, with a fierce name. Dragon Tongue is a ”Romano” bean, which means its pods are flat rather than round. Though technically it’s still a wax bean (another questionable name) because its pods have a yellow background. 

This is a summertime recipe. At least in Los Angeles. That’s because I never see Dragon’s Tongue or other types of wax beans at the Hollywood Farmers Market until the last dog days descend. I also consider this recipe as a warm-weather friend because it’s served chilled. Well, charred and then chilled.

Dragon's Tongue Beans

Charred Dragon’s Tongue Beans? Isn’t that just another way to say burnt beans?

Burnt food. It used to be the mark of a distracted cook. The phone rings and the carrots get singed. A kid asks a question about algebra and the chicken comes out black. You capture a Pokémon in the pantry and your “go-to” burgers have gone too far. “Oops” would be your only excuse. Nowadays, though, blackened, charred and blistered is not only acceptable but it’s a whole new cooking trend that’s worth mastering. 

However, you have to learn to burn artfully… There’s a difference between a carcinogenic pile of ashes and the ultra-sophisticated, ultra-caramelization that can amplify the flavor. I like to cook with high heat and I’m hoping you take a look at these Spicy Charred and Chilled Dragon’s Tongue Beans and see the latter. Their flat shape makes them a particularly good choice for this method of charring. GREG

Spicy Charred and Chilled Dragon's Tongue Beans with Mustardy "Frenchy" Dressing

PS: This recipe was inspired by the Los Angeles restaurant Hippo. I found it in the Los Angeles Times and adapted it to suit my tastes. But I do plan to make a trek to Matt Molina’s restaurant to try the original. 

Lastly, I can’t let you go without suggesting you take a good look at Mr. Molina’s “Frenchie” Dressing recipe attached below. I’ve made a lot (a lot) of mustard vinaigrettes in my time and very few of them are as simple and as good as this one. The recipe makes way more than you need for these Dragon Tongue Beans. Which is a very good thing.

Spicy Charred and Chilled Dragon's Tongue Beans

Charred and Chilled Spicy Dragon’s Tongue Beans 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield Source Adapted from LA TimesPublished
Charred and Chilled Spicy Dragon's Tongue Beans


  • 1 pound “string” beans (such as wax beans, haricots verts and dragon tongue beans, stem ends trimmed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • kosher salt (as needed)
  • “Frenchie” Dressing (as needed, see recipe)
  • 3 scallions (cut in 3‑inch lengths and thinly sliced lengthwise)
  • ⅓ cup roasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 serrano chile (very thinly sliced)


Toss the beans with the oil and salt until evenly coated. Heat a griddle or two large skillets over high heat. (Work in batches if necessary.)

When the surface is smoking hot, spread the beans in an even layer on the griddle or in the skillets and add another drizzle of oil (about a teaspoon per skillet or a tablespoon for the whole batch). When the bottoms brown and blister, toss the beans and continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until there’s a nice char on the beans but they still have a little bite, 3 to 5 minutes. Thinner beans will brown more quickly, so pull them from the heat first and place them in a large bowl. As the batches of beans cook continue to transfer them to the bowl.

Once all the beans are cooked toss them (while still warm) with about 2 tablespoons “Frenchie” dressing. Let them sit uncovered until they come to room temperature then cover and refrigerate them until chilled.

When you’re ready to serve, soak the scallions in a medium bowl of ice water until crisp, about 5 minutes, then lift out and gently pat dry with paper towels.

Put the almonds on a cutting board and crush with a heavy skillet or the flat side of a knife until they crack into smaller pieces. On the board, drizzle the nuts with ½ teaspoon olive oil, sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt and toss until evenly coated. Transfer two-thirds to the bowl with the beans. Add scallions, lemon juice, and as many of the chile slices as you like and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Transfer to serving plates, top with remaining almonds and serve immediately.

Matt Molina’s “Frenchie” Dressing 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield generous ½ cupSource Matt Molina for the LA TimesPublished
Matt Molina's "Frenchie" Dressing


  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic (grated on a Microplane)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil


Pulse both mustards with the vinegar, garlic and lemon juice in a mini food processor until smooth. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil. Or, you can make the dressing by hand: Whisk both mustards with the vinegar, garlic and lemon juice in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified.