All right, I know that most of you started to think I got lost again but don’t worry I returned back to where I belong, to my kitchen. I had a short vacation between two posts and got a chill as a bonus. Now I am fully recovered and ready to compensate my absence.
Last week I had a chance to visit farmers market in the neighborhood which is my favorite place for all sort of grocery shopping. It was too crowded and noisy as always thanks to shouting farmer boys to attract customers by telling how fresh were their rocket leaves or that no fertilizer was used to grow those tomatoes.
No matter how louder they shout it is difficult to convince old, picky ladies who have such a strong aptitude developed over years to find the best of the best deals in the whole market. If a stall is circled with these golden-agers, it is a good idea to check seller’s offer. The only tricky part is to take care of your feet against the high possibility of being smashed under an old lady’s wheeled shopping bag. Such sort of hassles comes with the farmers market experience package and not separable.
Setting aside the crowd, farmers market is the best place to find fresh vegetables and fruits of the season. In general groceries sold here are picked a few days before your purchase which enables them to remain good for a longer time compared to the ones you bought from neighborhood supermarket and stacked there after a long supply chain journey.
Going through different vegetable stalls, fresh green beans caught my attention and I dived into the crowd in front. I quickly took one of the beans and broke into two pieces to test. And yes, that was the right place for crunchy green beans with no strings. Old, picky ladies were right again! On the way back I also found beautiful tomatoes still on their branch coming from west coast side and grabbed a pack full of them before I take my way home to prepare our meal.
For this recipe I made use of a different cooking technique but I have to say that it is the best way to preserve the color and texture of green beans. I read about this technique on an article long before and it was on my mind since then. Important point is to cook sliced green beans in hot water (but not boiling) with a generous amount of salt. This will decrease the amount of chlorophyll (substance giving the green color to beans) transferred to hot water. You also need to make a big bowl of iced water ready aside and put the drained beans in it to immediately stop cooking right after eight minutes.
It is nice to try different techniques for old school recipes we got used to. Traditional fresh green bean recipe requires cooking beans with sautéed onion in olive oil and tomato combination for a longer time. Unfortunately green color and crunchy texture of beans will be lost at the end. This alternative recipe requires breaking the whole process into pieces and gathering up the side products afterwards. If you would like to have your beans more tender you always have a chance to cook them in hot water a few minutes more. In any case your beans will be greener than before so it might be a good idea calling this recipe as “literally green beans with tomato sauce”. Bon Appetit!
Ingredients (for 8 servings)
- 1 kg. (2,2 pounds)fresh green beans (washed, drained, cut French style)
- 1 large sized onion (finely chopped)
- 10-12 small sized tomatoes (peeled and diced)
- 6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon grass (optional)
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Sliced almonds
- 4 tablespoons sea salt
|1.||Heat water (around 2,5 liters) in a deep saucepan and add sea salt,
Keep on heating until water is hot but not boiling (it should be around 160 F/70 C if you are using a thermometer, if not it should be hot enough to trigger your reflex when you try to touch the water with your finger tip). If it starts boiling, close the heat and wait for a while until temperature goes down to required level. At the same time prepare a large bowl of iced water and set aside.
|2.||Add green beans into hot water and wait for 8 minutes, stir a few times to make sure all the beans are submerged.|
|3.||Drain the beans when time is up and immediately put them into iced water to stop cooking process. When beans are cooled down, drain them well.|
|4.||In a heavy skillet add olive oil and finely chopped onions, cook until translucent then add tomatoes, sugar, white pepper, lemon grass and salt according to your taste (beans alone will not be salty after cooking process is completed), cook until onions get very soft and combination looks more like a sauce.|
|5.||Place some beans on a plate and pour tomato-onion sauce on them. Garnish with sliced almonds.(You may also combine sauce and beans altogether and keep it in the refrigerator for a day to rest, taste will be even better on the second day)|