Recipe: Insalata di Fagiolini Verdi (Italian Green Bean Salad)

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From cook Rosetta Costantino, whose family emigrated from Italy when she was 14 and set about growing and preserving as much as they could in their own traditions. Now Costantino teaches her own classes in Sonoma, and is collaborating with author Jane Fletcher, who first wrote about her five years ago:

My father grows only the flat Italian-style Romano beans in our garden; they have a sturdy texture and intense flavor. You can make this salad with other green beans, but the Romano type is preferred in Calabria. Note that we cook them beyond al dente; we don't like crunchy beans. We keep the garlic in large chunks because it is just for seasoning; we don't eat it. You can cook the beans an hour or two ahead, but don't dress them more than 30 minutes before serving or the vinegar will alter their color.

Serves 4

    • 1-1/2 pounds (675 grams) flat Italian-style green beans, such as Romano beans, ends trimmed

    • Kosher salt

    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

    • 6 garlic cloves, each cut into 3 or 4 pieces

    • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and 2 tablespoons salt. Boil until the beans are tender, with no crunch, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain in a colander but do not rinse. Let the beans cool and air dry in the colander.

Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and toss with the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow the beans to absorb the flavors. Taste again and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
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