Although our favorite way of having green beans when we were kids, especially in the summer, was in umido, or stewed with tomatoes, Angelina had another nice way of making green beans with sautéed onions and mint. As it turns out, at least according to this article, the recipe is from Puglia and is called fagiulini spilusieddi, meaning ‘imaginative green beans’ in the local dialect. Now, I have two theories about this: my grandfather being from Puglia, it is possible that she learned this Puglian way of making green beans to please her husband. It is also possible that in her area, which is not very far from Puglia, they also made green beans this way.
In any event, the dish is very simple, tasty and definitely worth a try: you boil green beans in well salted water until tender. While the green beans are cooking, sauté sliced onions (perhaps half as much by weight as the green beans) in a generous amount of olive oil over moderate heat until they are nicely softened. (Adding a sprinkling of salt and a spoonful of water helps them to cook more quickly.) Mix a handful of chopped parsley and mint into the onions. Then, if you like, add some bread crumbs, turn up the heat a bit and let them saute until they turn golden. Otherwise, turn off the heat.
When the green beans are tender, drain them and add them to the skillet with the onions and herbs. Turn them to coat well and let them stew for just a few minutes to insaporire. Before serving, sprinkle the beans with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, just enough to brighten the flavors, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
That’s it. Simple but delicious!
NB: I wanted to dub this dish ‘fagiolini alla pugliese’ but, just to confuse matters even more, it turns out that there is such a dish, more or less identical to fagiolini in umido, but with a bit of peperoncino for spice. Go figure…