Summer is turning everything green! Why not prepare green beans in a different way: for example, baked in the oven and marinated with herbs and capers? A perfect starter for all those who love strong aromas full of character.Jump to Recipe
Gambe de siora, the bean reminiscent of ladies’ legs
In my home village, green beans are called tegoline. Although the standard Italian word fagiolini is known everywhere, you will find a different name for the green bean in almost every region of Italy. This may be due to the fact that it was on the menu long before a common language was introduced. A very old variety is the gambe de siora (lady’s leg) from Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. They do not form threads, are thin and long like the legs of many a woman. When cooked, they are butter-soft and yet crunchy when bitten: a much sought-after variety of beans. In my childhood, “bean sellers” still roamed the villages, carrying bags full of seeds for many types of vegetables, often also for the gambe de siora. The women of the village ran towards the sellers, and flocked around them, anxious to purchase seeds for the delicious beans.
Popular recipes with green beans
We Italians love beans, whether white and round or long and green. For example, fagiolini all’uccelletto, stewed with tomato sauce and sage. Green beans are also often found as a salad on the table in summer. A pinch of baking soda or flour in the cooking water preserves the beautiful colour. It is best to salt the beans when they are freshly drained and still hot. The heat melts the salt crystals, which can allows them to spread easily. Only then should you add oil, vinegar and some black pepper. For the salad variation with guanciale or pancetta, do not add oil to the marinade. Instead, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry it in oil until crisp and brown. Before serving, pour over the beans and enjoy warm immediately.
Baked green beans with wild fennel, capers and pine nuts
- 600 g green beans
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 30 g butter
- 1 good pinch salt
- 1 good pinch black pepper – freshly ground
- 20 g pine nuts or chopped almonds
- 30 g capers small
- 10 g wild fennel or dill
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan-assisted). Wash the green beans, dab dry and remove the tips. Toss the beans in 1 tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper. Line a baking tray with baking paper, spread the beans on top and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes. The green beans should be soft and brown in places. Put them on a serving dish.
Melt the butter in a small pot at medium heat. Roast the pine nuts without fat until golden brown. Stir continuously. Spread the butter and pine nuts evenly over the green beans.
Wash the capers and dab dry. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot and heat. Fry the capers for 1-2 minutes until crispy. Lift them out of the oil with a skimmer and spread them over the green beans with the chopped wild fennel. If you use capers pickled in salt, they should be chopped after washing, as this will allow the salty pieces to be spread more evenly.
If you like hearty food, fry some finely chopped pancetta or guanciale with the capers.
Tip: It is better to salt the beans a little less in the beginning if you use salted capers and bacon. At the end, mix everything well and serve the baked green beans with sautéed white bread slices.