Tuesday, October 5, 2010

String Beans With Tomatoes: Summer's Bounty Comes To An End

Today I decided to clean out the fridge and take inventory of my fruits and vegetables. This year was the first year I grew vegetables and herbs in a small garden in my backyard. Left over from my diligent dirt dabbling were about a pound of string beans and three plump plum tomatoes. 

While trolling my unorganized collection of recipes recently, I'd come across a recipe that included these very ingredients. There were a few other items needed but mostly things anyone would have in their pantry or refrigerator. 

Pierre Franey
The recipe was something I'd saved from the New York Times dated December 9, 1992. The column was called the 60 Minute Gourmet, a column I had heard of written by Pierre Franey, who I (embarrassingly) had not. Apparently the 60 Minute Gourmet was Franey's column for 20 years starting in the late 1970s and he was an acclaimed chef with best-selling cookbooks to his credit. Here's a bit of biographical information from a cookbook review site: 
Pierre Franey's recipe columns appeared regularly in The New York Times for nearly twenty years, under his own byline and with Craig Claiborne. His other books include The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet and The New York Times More of the 60-Minute Gourmet, both of which were bestsellers. He died in 1996. Bryan Miller the New York Times' restaurant critic and a long-standing collaborator with Pierre Franey, emphasizes the ease of Franey's recipes, "Pierre always bought ingredients at local stores so readers wouldn't be exasperated by trying to locate Peruvian blue onion or Mexican jicama."
Anyway, I was glad that I'd saved it and am able to share it with you today.  The string beans and tomatoes were a side dish to a Roast Pork Tenderloin main course but I unfortunately didn't have that in my freezer. But this recipe seriously took about 10 minutes to prepare and it was delicious. 

String Beans With Tomatoes

1 pound fresh string beans
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ripe plum tomatoes, about 1/2 pound
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 bay leaf


  • Cut tips off beans and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • Bring enough water to boil to cover the beans when added. Add salt to taste, then add the beans. Cook 5 minutes until tender. 
  • Core tomatoes and cut into half-inch cubes
  • Heat oil, butter in a skillet and add garlic. When cooked but not brown, add tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cook for about 2 minutes while stirring. 
  • Add beans, stir and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Remove bay leaf and serve hot. 
Franey's cookbooks are available on Amazon and for those of us with little time, I'm sure they will make precious acquisitions. 

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