Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Green Beans with Garlic Bread Crumbs and Tomatoes

When it comes to summer food, it's all about buying the best in-season ingredients and preparing them as simply as possible to really let them shine. My repeat visits to the farmers' market last week rewarded me with a handful of sweet green beans and the usual haul of heirloom tomatoes, and they looked so good, I wanted to swallow them whole as soon as I got home, preferably together. Fortunately I showed restraint for enough time to whip together this perfect little side dish to eat alongside a batch of freshly fried chicken. Yum.

Green Beans with Garlic Bread Crumbs and Tomatoes
From Cooking in the Moment, by Andrea Reusing
1/2 small loaf of country white bread
1 medium ripe tomato, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons oilive oil
1 pound green beans, trimmed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Remove the crust from the bread, tear the bread into 2- to 3-inch chunks, and scatter them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until the outside is firm and crusty but not browned and the inside is still soft. Let the bread cool.

Meanwhile, toss the chopped tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Tear the cooled bread into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces. Measure out 1 cup and reserve the rest for another use. Put the bread crumbs in a small skillet and toast over medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Blanch the green beans in the boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain and transfer to a warm serving dish. Add the tomatoes and toss, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same small skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic. Saute just until it begins to turn golden and is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Quickly add the bread crumbs and toss to combine. Sprinkle over the beans.