Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CSA week three - fassolakia freska me domata

Or, in other words, green bean casserole with tomato. This is a recipe particularly well suited to week three as it uses the green beans, the tomatoes (although peeling and seeding all those little cherry tomatoes would be a pain. I used the tomatoes I bought during week two before I knew I'd be getting a pint on Saturday) and some of the parsley. I found the recipe here and, other than cutting it down by five eighths, made it as written.

Fifty minutes seemed like a heck of a long time to simmer green beans, but they kept a good bit of flavor and texture even if the color suffered. I made the variation with the added potatoes and fifty minutes was on the long side for them too. If I hadn't used red bliss, they would have fallen apart entirely. I might cut 10 minutes off the cooking time next time (or make it a very low simmer).

Here's the before picture:

and here's the after:

The recipe calls for it to be served with tzatziki which is not much different from the cucumber soup I made a few days ago so I defrosted a bowlful. It turned out to make a substantially better sauce than a soup; I shouldn't have mixed in the sour cream.

Interestingly, without the tzatziki, the dish isn't exceptionally Greek (well, maybe the potatoes). So here's an Italian presentation drizzled with basil oil and topped with Parmesan shreds. Both were pretty good.


Monica said...

Great blog!

Love this dish. Traditionally, it's made with pole beans rather than green beans but what a great use of your CSA share!

FYI, Publix recently started carrying real Greek yogurt (FAGE), the stuff you need for an authentic and more substantial tzatziki than American yogurt or sour cream can provide.

billjac said...

Thanks for reading, Monica. Do pole beans stand up to the long cooking better than the green beans do or is the traditional texture on the border of turning into mush? The vegetables have always been what I would consider overcooked at the various Greek restaurants I've been to and I'm curious whether that's the way its supposed to be or if it's a result of the Americanized kitchen.

I noticed a few different brands of Greek yogurt at Whole Foods too. There's certainly nothing wrong with FAGE but I was thinking of trying a different one next time I had a need for it.

monica said...

The beans should get soft, but not turn to mush -- the tomato, yes (it should be saucy) but not the beans. Pole beans are pretty robust so they do hold up well on a long simmer. But there's a good chance you're encountering overcooked food, and probably swimming in oil. There are few really good Greek restaurants in these parts.

I'll have to check out Whole Foods' Greek yogurt selection. (That place is awesome but so $$$!) I suggested FAGE because it's actually a favorite in Greece, but I'd say any yogurt imported from Greece is worth a try.

And hey, if you plan a romantic dinner, serve the yogurt with walnuts and honey -- they say it's an aphrodisiac. And the Greeks invented that word, so they should know. ;)