Monday, May 14, 2012

Green Beans with Fresh Tomatoes and Thyme


This week I am away from my kitchen, spending time in Venice and Ravenna, Italy and having a great time seeing the sights and admiring the art and architecture.  So here's something I cooked and wrote a while back but never posted.

Elder daughter has never been a fan of cooked tomatoes, so when she still lived at home, I didn’t make things in tomato sauce very often or add tomatoes to many cooked dishes.  She was not a picky child, this being her one dislike – she was the only other person in the family who joined me in the love of beets! – so it seemed a small concession to a mostly flexible eater.  I’m also not saying she wouldn’t eat the cooked tomatoes, after all, just that they were not her preference.

Her sister will not eat beets, but spaghetti Bolognaise and lasagna were two of her favorite meals.  Both traditionally have tomato-based sauces, of course.  So I walked a fine line of pleasing everyone by cooking those only occasionally but always when her sister was traveling or spending the night with a friend.  It’s all about planning.  Do other families do this balancing act?

Suddenly, with both girls away at university (and, boy, do I miss them daily) I am free, free to cook whatever I want.  (Also free to travel when dear husband has a business trip somewhere interesting!) Thankfully, their father eats everything.  (But beets.)  I love this dish because the colors are gorgeous.  And it tastes good too.

Ingredients
1/2 lb or 225g green beans
2 red ripe tomatoes
Generous sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves
5 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper

Method
Chop off the tops and tails of the green beans.


Cut the tomatoes into small pieces.


Pop your tomatoes into a dry non-stick skillet on high heat and brown (scorch) them a little.


Sprinkle on the thyme leaves, salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, slice your garlic very thinly.


Give the tomatoes a good drizzle of olive oil and add in the garlic.   Let it fry a little bit then add in the green beans.




Toss them in the tomatoes and olive oil and then add about half a wine glass of water and put the lid on.


Let the beans steam for a few minutes, depending on how soft you like them.  Crunchy beans will take just a few minutes.  Very tender beans might take as long as seven to 10 minutes.  Check them occasionally by tasting a bean and remove the pan from the heat when you are happy with the bite of the beans.  (Add more water if it gets dry before the beans are cooked to your satisfaction.)  While you are checking the tenderness, add more salt and pepper if necessary.


Serve along side some roasted chicken and rice with gravy.  

Beso admiring the roasted chicken in the oven.  We have never had an oven just his height before.
He finds it endlessly fascinating to watch meat cook.
Or whatever else you have on the menu.  These green beans with garlic and tomatoes go with just about anything.


Enjoy!


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