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Green beans a la Jamie

Typical supermarket green beans. Image from

The green beans in local supermarkets are somewhere between haricot verts and English runner beans, a whopping huge green bean thick enough to be sliced lengthwise, which is what Jamie Oliver did with them Saturday morning on the tube.

This recipe, like most of his, is adaptable as all get-out, so that's what I did -- adapt -- using a extra generous pound of supermarket beans, tipped and cut in halves or thirds on the extreme diagonal.

It's what Oliver does with rather ordinary ingredients that makes his dishes shine. I used what I could find that corresponded to his recipe, and here's the way I did it with delicious results, absolutely no credit on my part.

What's it they say about dancing with a great dancer? All you have to do is follow his lead.

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention, he topped his beans with gorgeous grilled monkfish steaks and a sprinkling of gremolata. Learn how to make that Italian condiment here.


1 generous pound of regular green beans, tipped and cut into halves or thirds on the extreme diagonal

Garlic cloves, minced, or garlic infused olive oil

Regular olive oil (if not using garlic infused)

1 small can of anchovies (10 small fillets) OR a bit of anchovy paste, say, 1 inch squeezed from a tube

Dried chili, say, 1 teaspoon flaked or chopped from an ancho pepper

About 14 ounces of tomato puree

1 sprig fresh rosemary OR dried whole leaf rosemary revived in a bit of red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata, a combination of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest

Heat a deep skillet, such as a chicken frier, add enough oil to sparsely coat the pan, dump in the garlic (if not using garlic infused oil) and pretty quickly add the anchovy fillets or paste. (You only think you won't like this part, but believe me, the anchovies melt into the oil for a spectacularly Italian flavor.)

Stir in the flaked chili, the tomato puree and the rosemary. Combine, then add the raw beans, a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly, checking for doneness after -- oh, I don't know -- 15 minutes. Depending on the freshness of the beans, it could take twice that long.

Serve topped with gremolata and a chunk of bread for sopping. This ought to serve 4, but it didn't at my house.