I got these string beans at the farmers market over the weekend. It’s true I have a hard time resisting rainbow veggies, and the moment I saw these, they reminded me of my great-grandmother on my father’s side. She was French, and the most I know about her is that she lived in Louisiana, and eventually moved to San Francisco. Many things she cooked, including these, had a Southern style to them, in spite of her European-ness. The beans remind me of a very specific recipe that she would cook on holidays, which was string beans cooked in bacon and shallots. I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t know what her method was, but those veggies were very well done! I mean, they were quite over-cooked. In fact, they were boiled to death! But at that young age, I really didn’t much care. It wasn’t until a bit later, that my palate developed into that love of tender-crispness, the style that California vegetables tend to be cooked in. So, I had a thought that since I was cooking Italian food, (that’s my lovely Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups) I could channel just a bit of my great-grandma and get a bit of the flavor, without the too-done-for-my-taste texture.
The shallots were easy enough to find.
What I decided to use instead of bacon was a bit of prosciutto. Honolulu doesn’t have a lot of delicatessens, but we do have a couple of stores with gourmet sections. I went to the Foodland nearby and found the price of prosciutto prohibitively expensive at $22.00 a pound. I swallowed and told the clerk I just wanted one slice. She looked at me quizzically and asked me what I was using it for, and I told here that it was just to add flavor. That’s when she made the suggestion to just buy an end. I didn’t even realize that they sold them like that, and at the total price of only $2.99, I felt I had scored.
Simple ingredients here:
1 pound green beans, any kind
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot
1 prosciutto end, or 1 small slice prosciutto, chopped into small pieces
1 dash white pepper
That’s it. You probably won’t need salt, since the prosciutto has some in it.
Wash the beans, trim and slice diagonally. I made the slices kind of thin, because these beans can be tougher that the thinner variety. In fact, I’ll come right out and tell you not to bother with the paler ones~ they ere extremely tough. But, the rest of them were quite good.
Steam the beans for about 10 minutes. They won’t be quite done, but they are going to get another cooking. Drain them and set aside.
Mince the shallot and chop the prosciutto into small pieces In a medium-sized frying pan, sauté the shallot and prosciutto until tender and fragrant. Add the string beans and cook them for about 10 minutes, stirring to combine ingredients. Sprinkle with a dash of white pepper.
Turn into a bowl and serve.
They go wonderful with any kind of Italian food. Enjoy!