Pretty and summery, but don’t be tempted to buy large yellow beans – they’ll likely be tough. See Recipe Notes below.
1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 large tomato, skinned and diced 1 tsp thyme leaves 300g (about 10 oz) yellow beans Salt ½ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained Freshly ground black pepper
1 Put oil, onion and garlic in a saucepan, cover with a lid and cook gently until onion is soft, gently shaking the pan from time to time to ensure nothing is catching on the bottom of the pan.
2 Add tomato and thyme and cook for a further 5-7 minutes, until tomato has softened and is pulpy.
3 Trim beans if necessary and blanch in a saucepan of salted water for 3-5 minutes (depends on their size). Drain, and add to saucepan. Continue cooking over a gentle heat until the beans are as tender as you like them (some people like squeaky beans – not me – and in a dish like this, I like them European style, that is, fork tender). Stir through the olives, season with a little salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.
Yellow beans, sometimes known as butter beans, must be eaten young, while they are slim and tender, because they toughen once they mature. They’re easy to grow and are prolific, that is, as long as you give them plenty of water and keep on picking them. If you leave beans on the plant too long it will stop the cycle of producing new ones. If you don’t want to eat beans every day, and sometimes a plant only produces a few a day, pick and transfer to a plastic bag and keep in the fridge – they’ll keep for more than a week.