Jeanne Calment, a French lady who holds the record for the longest confirmed lifespan, said that she owed her youthful appearance and longevity to olive oil which she poured on all her food and rubbed into her skin. That’s olive oil for you! It’s the fountain of youth and also makes vegetables taste superb, while preserving their color.
String beans in olive oil is a classic Ottoman dish which holds its title in contemporary Turkish kitchen as well. For this recipe, flat, thin and non-stringy types of green beans should be used. A steel pot is also a must, olive oil dishes always taste their best in steel pots.
1/2 kg of string beans, you can use frozen French style snap beans instead,
2 onions, chopped as finely as possible
2 cloves of garlic, each clove cut into four,
3 large tomatoes, peeled and petite diced or grated (including the juice),
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of virgin or extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of lemon juice,
2 tablespoons of sugar,
1 teaspoon of salt,
1 1/2 cups of water,
1/2 cup of fresh parsley leaves,
Top and tail the beans. Halve them lengthwise if they are wider than 0.5 cm. Remove strings if there is any. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium size steel cooking pot and sauté onions until soft and yellow-brown. Add beans, tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil and water. Cover, bring to boil and simmer on very low heat for around 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of beans. Add hot water if necessary, in the end, the beans should be moist but not floating in juice. Check with the tip of a fork, remove from the heat when the beans are tender, slightly softer than al dente, but definitely not mushy. Throw in the parsley leaves, keep aside 1 or 2 pieces for decoration. Drizzle 2 more tablespoons of uncooked olive oil and cover again. Do not remove your beans from the pot that you cooked them in and do not open the lid. Just leave the pot on the kitchen counter till the next day. Serve at room temperature, garnish with parsley. Pairs nicely with white bread.