I massively over-ordered French green beans via Tesco online, not realising there was a buy one get one free thingy. As there is only so much steaming a girl can do, something was required other than just blanching and freezing the excess. I (vaguely) remembered a recipe for green beans and cherry tomatoes in the Terence Stamp Collection cookbook. That book is Lord knows where at my mum’s, I may have to actually order my own copy though I am a bit loathe as it is all wheat and dairy free *. All I can recall is the recipe had the two ingredients above and that Terence used a lot of lemon juice as a salt substitute.
So, like the good researcher I am, I went looking for something like it online, and wouldn’t you know there are hundreds of recipes, but not that one. So here is my half remembered homage, takes about 10 minutes start to finish:
Ingredients (to Serve 4 as a Side Dish)
- 400g fresh Green Beans, cleaned, topped and tailed. Cut in half if very long, but try to have them all roughly the same length
- 200g of fresh Cherry Tomatoes, whole, with a tiny notch cut into the top. Good quality tomatoes are required for this dish. The notch stops them bursting in uncontrollable ways, helping to keep them (almost) whole.
- Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 large Lemon
- Fresh ground Black Pepper to season (let the lemon be your salt substitute, it works weirdly well…)
Drop the trimmed green beans into plain boiling water, bring back to the boil, simmer vigorously for 4 minutes or so. Drain the beans very thoroughly, and pat dry’ish with kitchen towel or a napkin to remove any excess surface water. Keep warm in the oven in a pyrex serving dish or similar, but not for so long they go flaccid. Flash fry the cherry tomatoes for about 30 seconds to a minute in olive oil in a hot skillet–beware, they spatter like crazy. You want the tomatoes to singe, soften but stay in shape and open a little at the tops without de-skinning completely, but not remain raw and cold in the middle. Add in the lemon juice (again, it spatters) and black pepper and simmer to heat through again. Spoon out the tomatoes onto your hot serving dish of green beans and drizzle the lemony juicy sauce over. NB Green beans have a nasty habit of going cold and watery on your plate too quickly, hence all these keep warm instructions. And cooked, pre-frozen green beans are the worst offenders for this.
I served this with breaded chicken escalopes and slow fried roast potatoes. It is a nice dish when it is too cold for a salad but you want something very fresh-tasting as a side. Variations could include adding in some basil and/or garlic though I find I want a rest from the old garlic/herb combo now and again.
*The Stamp Collection Cookbook (hardback 1997, paperback 2002) was a collaboration between actor Terence Stamp and cook Elizabeth Buxton on wheat and dairy free cooking. Second-hand copies on Amazon are available for a penny + postage.
(BTW recent lack of activity–I have been moving house…we’re in now, and properly broadbanded, interneted, and phoned. Thanks to goodness.)