Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Beans With Onions and Tomatoes - Mediterranean Style

Green beans are fabulous veggies - people have been growing/eating them for a very long time. They are prepared all over the globe in amazingly similar ways. India, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, all have green bean dishes where they are cooked to perfection with onions and tomatoes. Indian cooks add potatoes sometimes as do the cooks in Greece!! Greeks call this dish "fasolakia" and in Turkey it is "fasulye". I guess good cooks know how magical green beans can be regardless of where they live ;D. I would rather have Jack's magical bean vine with abundant crops of beans than the giant's gold any day - Midas the monarch of Phrygia of the golden touch would attest to that!!

Here is an authentic recipe for green beans prepared Turkish style - called Taze Fasulye (Taze means fresh and fasulye - you guessed it, beans! ) adapted from the general directions from our wonderful tour director Ece. A little Turkish language lesson: Ece is pronounced as "A J" - the letter "c" can be tricky in Turkish - it could be pronounced 'ch' or 'j' depending on whether or not it has an accent mark! Ece cautions against using electric slicers or food processors of any kind for slicing the onions - she says that electric equipment bruises them too much and draws out the juice which quite ruins the dish. I quite agree: been there, done that - chopping onions in a food processor makes them bitter and spoils the taste. So as Ece says, when slicing onions, use a knife please!!

About 4 Servings
Nutrition Data (without the yogurt): 126 Calories, 5.5 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fat, 6 g fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals


1 lb. Green beans
2 to 4 ripe flavorful Tomatoes, to taste
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh Oregano
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 small bunch flat leaf Parsley, chopped
Plain yogurt to serve (optional)


Prepare the tomatoes: Bring a pan of water to boil and drop the tomatoes in for about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool. Peel the skins off, cut in half, strain out the seeds and discard them; chop the tomato finely. Set aside the chopped tomatoes with its juices until needed.

Snap off the ends of green beans, wash well, and snap/cut them in halves or into bite-sized pieces.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pan, add the onions with the herbs and cook stirring until soft.

Stir in garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the tomatoes and cook until very hot and simmering.

Stir in the green beans, salt and the turmeric, a little sprinkle of water if dry and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Check to see if beans are tender and stir in the sugar and add more water as necessary. The finished beans should be juicy, not dry.

Cook until the beans are done to your preference.

Stir in the parsley and let sit covered for about 10 minutes.

Serve warm with plain yogurt if desired.

Taze Fasulye may be served accompanied by pilaf and fresh bread to sop up the delicious juices :P. Enjoy!!

Note: Other green veggies such as okra, zucchini, leafy greens including watercress, etc can be cooked like the green beans. Basil or thyme may be used instead of oregano.

No comments: