It seems that the theme for my culinary life during the summer is: What to do with all this abundance? I am speaking of farmer’s market abundance, of course. Some items are short-lived in the spring, and we almost cry when they disappear from the market tables: strawberries, tender lettuce, peas, scapes, and asparagus to name a few. We just cannot get enough, and then…they are gone. Soon, the tomatoes make an entrance, mounds of green beans appear, and the peppers are piled high. I start to get excited about all of those Caprese salads I will be inhaling—fresh mozzarella, homegrown basil, olive oil from Olive Wagon—I feel giddy! What about the green beans and peppers? A girl cannot live on Caprese salad alone. Or could she?
Let’s talk green beans—so plentiful, so green, so basic—they beg to be with the tomatoes. Green beans are somewhat alkaline so they do well with the acidity of a tomato or a little vinaigrette. Green beans are forgiving, too. They can be eaten blanched and sautéed (still crisp) or stewed until they are delicately tender. If you are accustomed to the green beans you pour into a saucepan out of the can, I urge you to put down the can and get some fresh beans at your local farmer’s market. Try this recipe and see if you ever go back to canned beans again. I doubt it.
Stewed Green Beans and Tomatoes
- 1 pound green beans – trimmed & cut in half
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes OR 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion – halved and sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic – chopped
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tsp. honey
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- salt & pepper
- Prep your green beans, onion, and garlic. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half (or chop the Roma tomatoes).
- In a heavy cast iron pot with a lid, heat the olive oil on medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté for about 4-5 minutes until translucent and softened.
- Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, honey, and red pepper. Stir to combine ingredients. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the green beans and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the wine. Stir to incorporate the ingredients and turn the heat down to Low. Place the lid on the pot and let simmer for about 40-45 minutes.
- Stir in the cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
* If you don’t have a heavy cast iron pot, use a sauté pan or stockpot with a lid.
Roasted Garlic Cheese Bread
- 8 slices of artisan bread (please get good bread—it makes all of the difference here!)
- 3 tbs. softened butter
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- a pinch of sea salt
- Asiago, Parmesan, Fontina, or Havarti cheese
- Chop or puree the roasted garlic cloves. Thoroughly combine the garlic, butter and salt.
- Grate or slice the cheese of your choice.
- Spread the mixture on the bread slices and top with the cheese. Place under a broiler for a few minutes until cheese is bubbly.