I arrived well on the island of Crete and at my friend Maria’s beautiful home!
Dinner at her house, on the wild south side of the island, is what she calles a poor man’s dinner since it represents the diet of the village people.
Lovely plant-based meal, I say!
Horta (local greens served cooked with olive oil & lemon), broad beans in tomato sauce, boiled potatoes, zucchini, goat cheese & a shot of the honey raki that Stelios, the loveliest taxi driver ever, has given me on the way here;).
Most of the produce were delivered by a neighbor (the honeylady) who is in her 70ies and apparently fitter then I am. Healthy food? Living a tough life in a rough environment? All preserving raki? What is her secret? Ikaria, another greek island is a blue zone, one of the places in the world recognized for the longevity of the inhabitants.
That same neighbor provided kilos and kilos of green beans.
My challenge for the week is to come up with recipes to use them other than “Bounenschlupp”(luxemburgish traditional bean soup). My friend is greek married to a ‘burger’ and having none of that!
I choose a classical bean salad & find inspiration in the Jamie Oliver magazine, I bought in the airport on my way here. His recipe slightly modified & added to Maria’s Tsatsiki and Pita bread….a winning combination.
After that we agree on no more beans for the week;)
For the bean salad
On one bean stalk you have older and younger beans. The older ones have a string running along the side that’s tough to eat and to digest. You can easily pull it off while cutting off the ends.
Wash and cook for a short while in salted water. I like them to be crunchy and only cook them for a few minutes.
Crunchy or soft…is totally up to you! After cooking, rinse them in icy water to make sure they keep the vibrant green colour.
Cut the beans in smaller pieces and prepare the dressing. I used 2/3 olive oil, 1/3 lemon juice, pepper, salt, 1 tablespoon of mustard and a chopped onion.
Pour the lemon juice over the onion to make the taste a little milder then mix with the other ingredients. Pour dressing over the beans, there is the first part of my challenge completed.
For the beans on bread
This time the beans are not cooked in water but in a frying pan with fresh onions and nuts. Start with the onion, add the beans and finally the roasted nuts. Again it depends on your preference for crunchy or soft beans how long you will leave them in the pan at medium to high teat.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.
In the original recipe this was served with crumbs of goat cheese on top. Since we have the Tsatsiki I won’t add any cheese.