Summer Bean Side

During the summer months, you will most likely come across numerous types of beans at your local farmer’s market. I can still recall eating raw pieces of green beans from our family garden as a child, while I helped my mother trim the ends in preparation for dinner. I don’t, however, have any great memories of dishes created with the long, thin pods while in my youth. It wasn’t until adulthood, when I had the opportunity to travel more, that I came across some memorable recipes. Whether lightly cooked and eaten in a salad Niçoise, or in a good old-fashioned Midwest casserole, the summer bean is delicious. The following recipe is a typical Greek recipe, used in the summer months when beans are in abundance. The dill compliments the delicate taste of the beans quite nicely. If you don’t have any dill on hand, you could substitute parsley, or even mint.

1.5-2 lbs. beans, trimmed, washed, and cut into 2″ pieces
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
6 oz. crushed tomato
1/3 c. olive oil
appx. 1/3 c. dill, finely chopped
1/2 Tbl. sugar (optional)
salt, pepper to taste

Rinse and drain the beans in a colander. In a food processor, process the onion, garlic, dill and tomatoes together for a few seconds to make the sauce. (If you don’t own a food processor, finely dicing everything works just as well.) Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized sauce pan, over medium-low heat. Add the sauce and allow to cook for about a minute. Add the beans, salt, and pepper, and sugar if you so choose. Give it a good stir and cover the pan. Keep checking back with the beans to make sure they’re not cooking too vigorously. You want them to cook slowly, for about 30 minutes, or until the beans have turned fork tender. Don’t worry if you overcook them, as this dish tastes fabulous either way. If you happen to have a baby in your home, process any left-overs into homemade baby food. This dish pairs nicely with feta, or whatever you may be eating on a warm summer evening.

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