Long-Cooked Green Beans
Tender Texture and Complex Flavor
- Servings: 6.
Despite the popularity of crispy just-cooked vegetables, in traditional Italian cuisine, green beans and other vegetables are cooked longer, becoming soft and developing more flavor.
When green beans are well cooked, their bright green color fades and in some ways they resemble canned beans. But their taste and texture are nothing like canned. Instead they become completely tender while still holding their shape and without being gummy, and they develop a far deeper and more complex flavor.
Green beans cooked this way are especially nice when served with a pot roast or other braised meat or poultry, or with a dish that have deep flavors such as a tangine or stew.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (leaves from about 6 to 8 sprigs) or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 pounds green beans, rinsed and left long but with ends trimmed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Small pinch of red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice from 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup water
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3 or 4 quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic softens and just begins to take on color, about 2 minutes.
- Add the beans to the pan, adding the salt, about 6 grinds of black pepper, lemon juice and water.
- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot and cook until nearly all the liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
- While cooking, occasionally check the beans and using tongs, turn them so that all the beans are combined with the garlic and oregano, and coated in the oily, salty water. Each time you do this you'll see the bright green color fading.
- Allow to cool briefly and serve.
Tip: If you're thinking of using dried herbs in this or any recipe, but they're so old they've lost their scent and flavor, just leave them out entirely -- and discard and replace them soon.