My Favorite Green Beans


Many years ago, I purchased a fairly obscure cookbook written by an unknown chef, at least to me. Sunshine Cuisine was published in 1994.

The book cover states that chef Jean-Pierre Brehier “combines the taste memories of his Provençal childhood (born in Aix-en-Provence) with the Florida-Caribbean influences that weave their way throughout his professional career.”

Also from the book flap, “Chef Jean-Pierre Brehier has trained in some of the best restaurants in the south of France… came to Florida in 1973 and in 1976 became chef-proprietor of the award-winning restaurant The Left Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”

I googled him and there’s not much information on the chef since 1998, but there is a website called Meet Chef Jean Pierre.

I guess he had a show on the Food Network, and also on PBS, but I’ve never come across him except for this one cookbook. Is anyone familiar with him?

I’ve made quite a few dishes from his cookbook, but one recipe originally stood out to me, and occasionally, I make it. If you know me at all, you know I rarely make the same recipe twice.

The recipe is green beans with tomatoes, Kalamata olives and pine nuts. This recipe alone is the only reason I keep this cookbook, although I have made other good recipes out of it.

Green Beans with Calamata Olives and Toasted Pine Nuts
printable recipe below

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 pound green beans
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup Calamata olives, pitted and chopped

In a small nonstick frying pan, toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve.

Remove the tips and tails from the green beans and cut them into 1 1/2” lengths. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and poach the beans until tender but still firm, about 7 minutes. Drain into a colander.

In a sauté pan, heat the butter and oil and add the beans. Sauté 1 minute, then add the onion and cook until translucent, not brown.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, and olives. Sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add the pine nuts and serve immediately.

There’s just something about this group of ingredients that is spectacular. Of course it helps to love green beans.

The tomatoes and olives plus the crunchy pine nuts are just superb together.

And, with the addition of both onion and garlic, no seasoning is necessary. The olives supply the saltiness.

I’m not sure if it’s Kalamata or Calamata, but this chef spelled the olives with a “C.”

Other appealing recipes in this cookbook:
New Potato and Beet Salad
Risotto with Ginger and Carrot Juice
Roasted Peppers and Chili Sabayon Sauce



74 thoughts on “My Favorite Green Beans

  1. I love the combinations of green beans and kalamata olives but have never tried it as your recipe shows. We have lots of green beans just now so this one is a sure make.

  2. Never heard of this chef, but I’m wondering… where is the goats cheese? I don’t see it!
    🤣 Sorry, Mimi – couldn’t resist!
    Really like crisp, sharp pics!

    • Hahahahaha! That would be good, too! Thank you on the photos. Still have no patience with photography. And I’m incapable of food styling, But I’m getting more relaxed with food photography.

  3. Wow, Mimi! This reminds me so much of a recipe my mom used to make, which was called “Mediterranean Green Beans”. I’ve never had the recipe, so I appreciate this more than you know! Thanks!

  4. Mimi, I love the addition of tomatoes to the bean salad. It’s not something I usually do. Better fix that! Thanks.

  5. This recipe looks wonderful – but I bet the whole cookbook would be great to own! Since I pair Provence wines and food at least once a month, I might need to find an old copy online…

  6. Fresh green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. Sometimes just a little butter, salt and butter is all you need, but since we eat so many of them, it fun mixing them up. I’ve added pinon before, but never the tomatoes and olives. Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe! Oh – bet that cookbook is worth a pretty penny today. :)

    • Absolutely. With green vegetables I like to steam them, a little oil or butter and sprinkle of salt. I think this green bean dish is good with a “plain” steak or pork chop.

  7. What a delicious bean recipe, Mimi! It sounds similar to one of our favorite bean recipes, but I like the addition of pine nuts and Kalamatas. (I’ve never seen it spelled with a “C” but that’s just me.) Also, Jean-Pierre Brehier sounds like a talented chef, but he sorta looks like the Dad from Full House. Just sayin’. :-)

    • He looks crazy, whoever he looks like! Such a funny cover. But I like his spirit. Yeah, I’m a Kalamata speller too. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it with a “C” but it may be a regional thing.

  8. My only familiarity to this chef is the fact that I’ve been to The Left Bank in Fort Lauderdale once or twice. Both times were in the mid 1990s and I have no idea if this chef was still there. I’m pretty sure the restaurant has since closed. It had an old fashioned vibe that may not stand up to the days of carb free this and that. But my memory says it was an elegant place. As are these beans. GREG

    • Thanks, Greg. It’s a great dish. And good to know this restaurant was good. I would bet that he was the chef then…

  9. Nope, don’t know of him, but I can see why you like these beans. Beans and tomatoes is a great combination. And who doesn’t love Kalamata olives! But for me, it’s the pine nuts that put it over the top.

  10. What a lovely recipe Mimi. Green beans are a staple in our household. But this is a new recipe to me that I’ll definitely be trying. I usually just put a couple of tablespoons of hot stock in a saucpan, then cook some chopped garlic in that until soft then add more stock and the actual green beans. But I’m bored of that so this will make a change. Thanks!

    • It is quite unique. I usually steam fresh vegetables and eat them with a little butter or oil and salt. I never tire of them when they’re garden fresh. But for the rest of the year this recipe is perfect!

  11. I never heard of him, either & I used to be quite the foodnetwork watcher back when the kids were young. This recipe is JUST what I need. I just bought more green beans at the farmer’s market than any one person ever should, lol!!

  12. Sounds like a good recipe, I like the addition of olives. I know a little about chef Jean-Pierre Brehier. As Greg said, he owned The Left Bank in Fort Lauderdale for about twenty years. He sold it and about five years later it closed. He owns a combination business now, still in Fort Lauderdale. It is a gourmet cook shop and he also has cooking classes where you eat the meal at the end of the class.

    • Oh good! So he’s still alive! I hate writing about chefs, and then I find out they’ve passed. It’s really a wonderful recipe.

  13. Chef Jean-Pierre is alive and well. In fact, he had just started uploading new recipes on his Youtube Channel a couple of weeks ago. Truth be told, I was kind of losing hope that I’ll ever get to see new content from Chef JP since it was almost a decade since he last posted something on Youtube. Chef JP may have aged a bit, but his energy and passion are still very much there.

    • I’m so glad! I need to check him out. I loved his cookbook, and his French Florida fusion. I’ll go check him out! Thanks for telling me!

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