Hot weather, hot grill make for hot time
The Fourth of July is coming and what to cook? I am grilling some pork chops along with squash from the garden. I decided to work on some new sides and since I have lots of green beans (Louisiana Purple Pod) I could not refuse to use them as a major side dish. Also along with the beans our tomatoes are in so I thought I would add some okra and
corn to make another tasty side dish. (My okra and corn are a little late but others are in and you can find all in the markets.)
Using my new cookbook from Charleston from the Lee Brothers, I have been doing their really good green bean recipe. I have probably done it five times already (I’ve got lots of green beans!), but it is easy and uses bacon which reminds me of my mother’s green bean recipe.
Both recipes are from The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, 2013.
Long-Cooked Green Beans
Makes 8 servings
Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
½ pound smoked slab bacon or smoked sausage, sliced
2 pounds green beans, stems trimmed, cut into 2-to3-inch lengths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer with the bacon in a 6-quart stockpot over high heat. Add the beans, and when the liquid returns to simmer, turn the heat to low, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the red pepper flakes, and vinegar. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes (you should be left with just 1 ½ to 2 cups broth; if the beans appear to be boiling dry, add water as necessary by half cups).
Season to taste with salt, and add the butter, stirring to melt, before serving.
Serve the beans warm and slightly soupy.
Corn and Tomatoes
Time: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
8 ounces fresh okra, halved lengthwise
1 ½ cups corn kernels (from 2 large ears)
2 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 ounces slab bacon, cut into large dice
1 medium white onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 large garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1 to 2 teaspoon vinegar, either red wine, white wine, or distilled white (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot and brush lightly with vegetable oil. In a bowl, toss the okra with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook the okra in the pan in two batches, turning once, until charred and tender, three to four minutes per batch depending on the size and freshness of your okra. Reserve in a bowl so you can reuse the cast-iron skillet.
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the corn and season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Add the corn to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred in spots, about three minutes.
Reserve the corn in a bowl, separate from the okra.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Score the tomato bottoms with an X. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds to loosen their skins. Transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to cool. Core and peel the tomatoes, and halve them crosswise. Working over a sieve set in a bowl, tease out the seeds with your fingers. Press on the seeds to extract the juice, then discard them. Chop the tomatoes and reserve them in the bowl of their juice.
Pour the remaining tablespoon oil into the skillet over medium-high heat, and when it simmers, add the bacon. Sauté the bacon until it just begins to brown, about four minutes, then add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir continuously for about 2 minutes, allowing the onion to release some moisture, but not letting it brown. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute to let its flavor bloom (do not brown the garlic). Then add the tomatoes, and stir to combine. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about four minutes until the tomatoes have mostly collapsed.
Add the corn, stir to combine, and cook for three more minutes. Add the okra, stir and cook just until the okra is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with the vinegar (which you may or may not need, depending upon the acidity of the tomatoes), salt, and black pepper; serve.