Have you ever had a dish that was so delicious yet so simple it was like tasting the main ingredient for the first time? There are some great recipes out there that only have a few ingredients, yet when cooked together in the right order and with the right techniques produce magic. If you have one, please share it! Here's mine:
This afternoon I realized that, for whatever reason, I haven't had enough green veggies in my diet the last few days. I went to the refrigerator -- I really do need to go shopping! And then to the freezer... I GOTTA go shopping! But there was a bag of frozen green beans. Ahhhhh..... My favorite old fashioned Turkish green bean recipe... Tereyagli Taze Fasulye! I first had this way back in the '50s when Fatma, my chef/housekeeper made it for me and it was love at first bite! Forget about all of the stuff about undercooked vegetables. This recipe is a very very old traditional green bean "stew" that will knock your socks off.
..............................Turkish Green Bean Stew................................
A medium onion (or an equal amount of shallots) diced or grated. Grated is traditional but it makes me cry, so I chop.
Olive oil and unsalted butter, about a tablespoon of each
About three fresh tomatoes, halved, seeded and sliced. You can also use grape or cherry tomatoes cut in quarters. If you like, the tomatoes can be peeled but I like the little "curls" of tomato skin that result from sliced tomatoes that are diced.
About a pound of fresh green beans, French cut or sliced down the middle OR about a pound of frozen green beans, but when I use frozen I don't like the Frenched as well as whole or cut.
A scant teaspoon of sugar.
Salt and pepper to taste
Water (NOT stock or broth!)
Heat olive oil first, then add the butter to melt. Saute the onions in buttered oil until they're transparent and very lightly golden. Add tomatoes and continue to saute until they begin to break down and the peels curl; this could take up to five minutes depending on your heat. Be careful not to brown. Add green beans, sugar, salt and pepper and about 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a light boil/heavy simmer and cover with a tight fittting lid and cook for 40 minutes. If the lid on your pan allows steam to escape, check every once in a while and add enough water to keep from burning and reduce heat if needed. At the end of the cooking period the liquid should be reduced to a buttery sauce. Serve hot as a side dish to roasted red meats or poulty.
VARIATION: Add some finely cut fresh lamb (NOT ground!) when you're sauteeing the onions, then proceed with the rest of the recipe. American and New Zealand lamb is so mild it doesn't come up to Turkish or Greek lamb in flavor, so be sure to include all the lamb fat up to half meat and half fat to maximize flavor. The ratio of meat to green beans (before cooking for both) should be about five parts of green beans to one part of lamb max. This makes a delicious main dish with a rice or bulgur pilaf and a salad of sliced tomatoes with olive oil and chopped fresh mint and dill.
If you have a magically simple and simply magic recipe, please share! In the recent past -- month or less? -- I read a thread where someone mentioned a Marcella Hazan "onion sauce" recipe for pasta that was incredibly simple, I saved it and now I can't find it and don't remember the thread. I would love to see that one again. I love recipes in which the sum is so much greater than the parts that it just blows your mind. Got one?