This simple dish was a highlight of dinner recently — and that’s quite a feat considering it shared the table with grilled halibut.
I had a bag of string beans that were slightly past their prime, so a raw salad was out of the question, but wasting them was not in my repertoire. Steaming them seemed boring, but I didn’t want anything too busy or heavy. Olives suggested themselves and the rest is history.
Steaming the beans first accelerates the whole cooking process and also eliminates the need for a lot of oil — you can certainly sauté them in oil to cook them instead, but a drizzle in the pan with the olives offered a lighter, quicker version. If you don’t have this precise type of olives, use what you have; if they are large, chop them coarsely and, of course, remove the pits.
We served this warm, but it would be fine at room temperature or chilled as a salad.
Black Olive String Beans
4 cups string beans, stems removed
4 tablespoons lightly salted water
½ cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped if large
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the beans in the salted water in a skillet with a lid. Bring the water to a boil, cover and cook about 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain.
- Heat the oil and olives in the skillet and sauté briefly. Return the beans to the skillet and stir to coat with the olives.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot, at room temperature or chilled.