There is a place for crunchy beans, and that is the bean patch. I’m a raw bean addict! But when it comes to cooked beans, I’m not a fan of barely cooked beans that threaten to fly off the plate as you cut them (and sometimes do!). I like them Italian-style, cooked until tender and imbued with flavour. Each to their own.
400g (about 14 ounces) mixed beans
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
2 large ripe outdoor tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
1 Trim beans. Cut any very large ones in half. Drop beans into a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, and refresh with a cup of cold water.
2 Put oil in a saucepan and add onion. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and chilli and cook a few minutes more, then add beans and tomatoes (see below for notes on peeling tomatoes).
3 Cook gently until beans wilt a little and tomatoes softens down somewhat, though remain nice and chunky. Season well with salt and pepper and stir through coriander. Serve hot, or, better still I reckon, as leftovers. They absorb even more flavour that way!
How to peel a tomato
Recipes often suggest removing the skin from tomatoes. Certain cooking practices toughen them, and in soups and stews they separate from the flesh and can float to the top of the liquid. Everyone has their own method, and here’s mine. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Have a bowl of chilled water ready to receive the scalded tomatoes. Lower tomatoes carefully into the pan of gently boiling water and count to 10 for ripe tomatoes and up to 20 for firmer tomatoes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of chilled water. Try peeling them. If they peel easily, carry on scalding any extra tomatoes, but if they’re difficult, put them back in the pan for 10 seconds more. I find this method absolutely reliable because you can adjust it to the ripeness of the tomatoes.