Summer in Greece is tied with the sound of the sea.
Days are long and hot. We beat the heat by waking up early.
We rest right after lunch. We call it “mesimeri” and it, literally, means “the middle of the day”.
“Mesimeri” is protected by the law.
That means, you are not allowed to make noise from 15:00 to 17:30.
Now that I’m older, I really enjoy that peace, but growing up, it was hell to keep quiet for more than 10 minutes.
My grandma would keep us in the house until six o’ clock.
It was “bad manners” to go out earlier.
When the clock turned 18:00, we would rush out the house!
Our friends would, already, be waiting for us at the door.
My grandma would, then, make a Greek coffee for my grandpa.
The rest of the afternoon for them was spent for watering the flowers in our garden, preparing vegetables and slicing fruits for us to eat.
Yes, afternoons were the best…
On those days, my grandpa would sit for hours cleaning fresh Greek green beans.
In Greek, we call them “fasolakia”.
“Fasolakia lathera” is, certainly, one of the most delicious summer meals!
In English, “lathera” is translated to “oily” and, in Greek, is a category of food on its own.
Every region in Greece has a slightly different recipe for cooking Greek green beans.
A lot of people cook them along with beef meat, while others add zucchinis etc.
Our recipe for delicious Greek green beans comes from Vassilis’ mother, who is an amazing cook and is especially talented at creating a beautifully colored tomato sauce.
I find that the most difficult part in traditional Greek recipes is getting the olive oil right.
It’s all about that sacred balance, that we constantly search for in anything…
We watched her carefully and wrote down everything. The way she sautéed the onions and the Greek green beans, how she seasoned the tomato sauce with a pinch of sugar, how she lowered the heat to allow the flavors to come together. Little tricks that ensured an amazing outcome!
- 750gr. Greek green beans (fresh or frozen), trimmed
- 100ml. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 big potato, cut in medium cubes
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 500gr. fresh ripe tomatoes (or canned tomatoes), puréed
- 400-450ml. warm water
- 1 cube of bio vegetable stock
- 2 pinches of sugar
- 4-5 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
Put a large plus sauté pan (30-32cm.) on high heat.
Add olive oil, onions, garlic, carrot, potato and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle some salt.
Add the Greek green beans and sauté for additional 3 minutes, stirring carefully with a spatula.
Sprinkle with sugar and a pinch of salt.
Add the puréed tomatoes, warm water, bio stock and cover with a lid.
When it comes to the boil, turn heat to medium.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes or until Greek green beans and potatoes are fork-tender, but not mushy!
Remove the plus sauté pan from the heat.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper.
Taste and season again, if needed.
Allow “Fasolakia Lathera” to cool down for 15 minutes.
Greek green beans can be served either hot or at room temperature or even cold!
Serve along with traditional feta cheese and fresh toasted bread!