Thursday, August 11, 2016

Green beans, from an old family recipe, such as it is, or was, or may have been, remembered and recreated long after the fact

Elaine and I have been tending to a friend’s garden. Thus we have an embarrassment of green beans on our hands, or in our refrigerator. And so I remembered a dish that my mom used to make, green beans in tomato sauce. Very simple:

Chop an onion and brown in olive oil.

Add tomato sauce and oregano.

Add cooked beans and let them simmer for a while.
Thus green beans are made not only edible but delicious. The oregano is the secret. Exact proportions? Who knows? One 15 oz. can of tomato sauce and two or three teaspoons of dried oregano will take care of a good number of beans. I use no-salt-added sauce and add pepper and just a little salt.

I have always associated this dish with Brooklyn’s Hamilton House, a wonderful restaurant of my childhood. (London broil, anyone?) I always thought that my mom was recreating the Hamilton House dish. But no: as she told me a couple of days ago, she was making a dish that her mother made.

If you search for green beans tomato sauce , you can find much more complicated recipes. Perhaps something is missing from my ingredient list, but I don’t think so: my grandmother leaned to recipes with a handful of ingredients.

If you, too, are beset by an embarrassment of green beans, tomato sauce and oregano might be of help.

[Embarrassment is the collective noun that applies to green beans. Embarrassment : green beans :: gaggle : geese.]

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