12 May 2016
This week, Knidos Cookery Club is returning to the zeytinyağlı style of cooking to cook up a real bean feast with freshly-picked, tender green beans and juicy tomatoes.
Around this time of year, markets in Turkey are teeming with fresh beans in a variety of shapes and sizes. For a quick and easy meal, Knidos Cookery Club likes to chop the beans up and chuck them into a boiling pan of pasta and serve it all up with some generous dollops of pesto and shavings of parmesan.
For a traditional Turkish twist, combine your green beans with tomatoes to make zeytinyağlı taze fasulye and serve it as a side-dish alongside other seasonal, vegetable dishes. Serving this dish on top of a bowl of steamed rice makes for a more substantial main meal.
Recipes for this bean feast often call for the addition of some sugar, but you can replace this with honey. For a richer sauce, I found some pekmez, molasses (usually made from crushed grapes), in the store cupboard and poured a bountiful slug of this into the mix, giving the onions in the finished dish a deep burgundy hue.
Another use for pekmez is to mix it with tahini, sesame seed paste, and this fabulous combination frequently features in a full-on Turkish breakfast; more on this in a later edition of Knidos Cookery Club.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
500 g fresh green beans
One medium-sized onion
One or two garlic cloves
Four medium-sized tomatoes
50 ml Olive oil
One teaspoon of honey or pekmez
Juice of one lemon
Pinches of salt, pepper and cumin
One bay leaf
250 ml warm water
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the finely chopped onion and garlic when the oil’s sizzling.
When the onions are looking translucent, add the green beans, topped and tailed and sliced into 3-5 cm lengths, the chopped tomatoes and the bay leaf, salt, pepper and cumin and mix well.
Pour in the lemon juice, water and a dollop of pekmez or honey. Bring to the boil and then put the lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes or so until the beans are tender.
Serve with other vegetable dishes, bread and/or steamed rice.