Olive oil dishes, dishes that are cooked exclusively with quite-shocking-to-some amount of olive oil and served cold or at room temperature, are the vegetarian staples of summer tables in Turkey. I bet if you open a random fridge at any given time in Turkey you can find at least two different olive oil dish. One of the most common olive oil dish is the green beans in tomato sauce. Green beans cooked in this style are good mezes/appetizers available at any restaurant/pub and a main dish on its own served with rice/grains or crusty bread. It makes a great lunch in steamy hot summer days. What follows is a quite straightforward traditional recipe.
1 pound of fresh green beans (The ones most similar to those in Turkey are, no doubt, Italian broad beans. However, they’re hard to come by. And the next best is French beans. My favorite easy to find ones are Trader Joe’s Haricots Verts. These thin French green beans are so fresh and skinny that they don’t need trimming of any sort, which is super time consuming yet a must for a good green bean dish. If you will use anything other than haricots verts, trim the beans and snap the tails. Cut the beans into 2 or 3, depending on their length. Don’t use American green beans, not worth it.
if to find non-American fresh green beans is a challenge for you you can use 1 pack of frozen green beans that most major grocery chains sell (either french style or Italian cut, not the American ones)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
2 big or 4 medium fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, grated, or blended or 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup hot water
1/8 tsp ground cumin (although not a traditional ingredient in green beans, I do love the touch of cumin in this dish)
1 tbsp tomato paste (this is a summer dish and cooked during high tomato season, yet some people do like the dark, robust color of the tomato paste or use it when they don’t have enough tomatoes to supplement.)
-If you’re using fresh green beans clean and trim them to 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
-Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot or in a pressure cooker and cook the chopped onions until soft.
-Add garlic and sugar, and stir until garlic is fragrant-1 minute.
-If you want to use tomato paste add it at this point and stir for a minute.
-Add the beans with cumin, if you’re using any, and stir them until beans slightly change color (app. 4-6 mins).
-Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-5 mins and then add water and salt. Water should cover the beans completely, but not too much to make them seem like they’re swimming in it.
-Cover the pan and cook with low to medium heat until the beans are soft. Approximately 25-30 minutes. If you’re using a pressure cooker. Cover and cook for 12-14 minutes after it reaches high pressure.
-Regardless of in what kind of pot you cook them, you need to let it cool in the pot. Never transfer an olive oil dish from its pot until it gets to room temperature.
Olive oil dishes are traditionally served at room temperature or cold, however we won’t judge if you do warm it up. They taste even better the next day.