In Turkey, especially in the Aegean Region 'Zeytinyağlı' dishes are those prepared with olive oil and are served either lukewarm or cold. Almost all the vegetables from eggplants to beans can be used in zeytinyağli dishes. These tasty dishes are great for vegetarians looking for variety and are relatively healthy. You can eat it as an appetizer or as a side dish along with your main course. Regular olive oil is used in cooking 'zeytinyağlı dishes' because virgin olive oil gets bitter when cooked. Itis only used in salads and mezes.
My recipe calls for green beans today, in the Turkish market (bazaars) their varieties are known as Çalı, Ayşe Kadın, or Şeker Ayşe. Better known as Romano or Italian flat beans. The freshness of the beans as well as the way they are prepared is very important in its taste.
- 2,5 pounds flat beans
- ½ cup olive oil
- 15-20 spring onions- finely chopped
- 4-5 big fresh tomatoes- peeled and pureed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
First wash the beans in cold water and drain them. Then, with a small, sharp paring knife, snip off the ends and pull off the strings down on each side of the bean. Then, either cut them in thirds, or lengthwise two or three times to make long strips.
Chop the spring onions. Place the beans, onions and sugar in a large bowl and using your hands mix them, until incorpareted. Peel the tomatoes. Grate or puree them . Place them in a pot or pressure cooker, add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the bean mixture to the tomatoes, stir, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. If you're using a pressure cooker, add the recommended amount of water, usually about 1/4 cup, close and seal the lid and set the cooker on the recommended vegetable setting. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes as your cooker directs. Let the beans simmer gently.
The amount of liquid in the pan will increase as the beans release their own juice. Simmer them until the beans are very tender. When the beans are cooked and the liquid is lessened, turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker or pan cool down to room temperature. Place in a serving dish. They can be served at room temperature or cover them and refrigerate before serving.