Carmen's Green Beans Catalán

By • November 15, 2012 • 10 Comments



Author Notes: Carmen, my second mom who lives in a town west of Barcelona, has a few rules about cooking. #1: Spanish ingredients are best; Catalán ingredients are even better. #2: There is no such thing as too much olive oil -- so long as it's Spanish (see #1). #3: Cook with love (always). As someone on the receiving end of her simple, homey cooking, I can fully attest to the effectiveness of these rules. Here is a version of her recipe for green beans and tomatoes, one of the dishes I always hope she'll have on the table when I'm there for lunch. One of the secrets to this dish is generous amounts of olive oil, so when you think there is a "reasonable" amount, add a little more. The other secret, which is counter-intuitive to me, is to cook the beans very well. You don't want bright green, al dente beans; they should be dulled in color and fork-tender, and if they wander into the soft category, even better. In Spain, I find ground laurel easily in the markets. It's very finely ground bay leaf, and contrary to all the rules about not buying ground herbs, this stuff adds an amazing flavor to this dish. In California, I've found it in Mexican and Latin American markets in the spice section where it's called "laurel molido," but if you can't find it, a big bay leaf will do. In either case, what you'll get is a flavorful sauce that you'll want to sop up every bit of. As they say in Catalonia, Bon Profit!vvvanessa

Food52 Review: This recipe fed one of my favorite guilty pleasures: fully cooked vegetables. No toothsome green beans here, they were perfectly al dente after their half hour tomato bath. I did add a couple splashes of water as it simmered since the bread seemed to invite the sauce to stick to the bottom of the pan.The bread played a wonderful part in the recipe though -- it married the flavors of the garlic, tomatoes and olive oil to perfectly complement the green beans. The beans performed as the main attraction with a meal of wine-and-garlic sautéed chicken and white rice. Olé! Avalon Fiesta

Serves 4-6

  • Olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 4 1/2-inch slices day-old baguette (Carmen would say sweet, but I won't tell her if you use sour.)
  • 1/4 cup shredded or finely chopped day-old baguette
  • 1 pound green beans such as Blue Lake or Romano, trimmed
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground laurel or 1 large bay leaf
  • 3 cups (or 1 28-ounce can) diced tomatoes with juice and seeds
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large skillet, pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan (probably about 2-3 tablespoons). Brown the slices of baguette well on both sides over medium heat, taking care not to let oil burn. Remove the bread to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add in another glug of olive oil and sauté the breadcrumbs until golden (they can go from golden to overdone quite quickly). Remove them to a dish and set aside.
  3. Add in a little more olive oil. Add in the beans and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the garlic begins to toast a bit, taking care not to let it burn. Remove the green beans to a plate.
  4. Carefully pour the tomatoes into the pan, stirring in the laurel or bay leaf. Nestle the slices of toasted bread in the tomatoes. Bring the mix to a boil, then immediately to a simmer. Cook the bread for 5-8 minutes, flipping it over a few times, until it is completely saturated and begins to fall apart. Break up the bread with a wooden spoon until there are no more discernible pieces left. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the green beans back in. Cover the pan and let the beans simmer until quite tender, verging on soft, about 20-30 minutes. Check the beans occasionally to make sure they aren't sticking to the pan, and add a little water in as necessary if the tomatoes are drying up.
  6. If there is a bay leaf, remove and discard it.
  7. Serve the beans wtih and drizzle of olive oil and the toasted breadcrumbs on top.
Jump to Comments (10)

Comments (10) Questions (0)

Default-small
Default-small
Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

8 months ago lapadia

Love! Don't know why I didn't mention this earlier! :)

024

8 months ago bonbonmarie

Tasty looking recipe! I make a Spanish green bean with tomato too, but look forward to trying this--I love the addition of the bread and ground bay leaf. By the way, my father is from a town west of Barcelona too--Rajadell, and I still have family near there.

Image

about 1 year ago Adelucchi

Thanks for sharing this recipe. Fresh picked green beans from a friend's garden sent me on a search for a recipe. There were heirloom tomatoes in my CSA box so I was all set! A few tweaks: traded trader Joe 's whole wheat sour dough for the baguette; added a teaspoon of herbs de Provence and a pinch of red pepper along with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Took the dish to a dinner party to rave reviews! The hostess kept the small amount of leftovers! Luckily I have more beans to make this weekend. Thanks!

Dsc00426

about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Thanks for the feedback, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I'm sure the herbes de provence were great, and little Worcestershire makes everything tastier.

Open-uri20130226-27025-e5tcmm-0

about 1 year ago srcerer

Thanks for sharing this with us today! It is incredibly tasty and very comforting.

Dsc00426

about 1 year ago vvvanessa

I'm glad you liked it. I'm still riding the high of having two cakes for lunch!

Bouquet_label

almost 2 years ago Avalon Fiesta

These green beans were muy delicioso! The bread in the tomato sauce muted and melded the flavors so they complimented the beans perfectly. I was able to find Spanish olive oil at the supermarket and was surprised at its floral flavor. It was a nice discovery.

Dsc00426

almost 2 years ago vvvanessa

Thank you! I'm really happy that you enjoyed it. I can't wait to tell Carmen!

Gator_cake

almost 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum! This sounds really delicious, and I look forward to making it.

Dsc00426

almost 2 years ago vvvanessa

I can't wait to hear how it goes!