It is often easier for people to figure out the proteins for a low carb dinner than it is the side dishes. This dish of sauteed Italian flat beans (Romano beans) is a match made in heaven served with smothered cod. A low carb dinner that screams summer!Jump to Recipe
What are Italian flat beans (Romano beans)?
Romano beans are broad flat beans that are also referred to as Italian flat beans. They are NOT Italian broad beans….those are called fava beans.
Romano beans are meaty and juicy with a great crunch and I much prefer them over green string beans. Alas, they are not that easy to find.
Sometimes you will find them at farmers’ markets in the late summer, but they are not a common sight in the local grocery stores. I ended up growing them myself out of frustration.
If you can find them (or grow them) however they are well worth the trouble. They can take a boring bean dish over the top and become a main dish all alone if you are a vegetarian.
Romano beans (or flat beans) are often braised with other vegetables. In the recipe below I have slow cooked them with cherry tomatoes which are at their peak at the same time as the beans.
Flat beans are also great in soups, stews or pickled.
Heirloom Beans – Dragon’s Tongue
A specialty type of flat bean is a Dutch heirloom called “Dragon’s Tongue”. Similar in taste to the Romano but a beautiful purple-speckled color.
Just know that the beautiful color disappears when cooked and they turn pale yellow. If you want to preserve the color, blanch them quickly and use in salads. Here is what they look like fresh….
Cooking with Vinegars
Many chefs will tell you that the secret ingredient to take a dish over the top is a splash of acid. This can take the form of lemon juice, lime juice or any number of vinegars.
In the recipe below I used a “tomato vinegar” to enhance the cherry tomatoes already in the dish. This may be difficult to find, so just use the type of vinegar you have on hand.
Lemon juice tends to add a brighter taste and the vinegars add a more subtle acidity. I often opt for vinegar as I think it allows the flavor of the ingredients to shine more. Lemon juice can sometimes be overpowering to me.
Italian flat beans with smashed cherry tomatoes
- Potato masher
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1-2 lbs flat beans blossom end trimmed off
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp oregano
- ½ cup water if needed
- ¼ cup tomato vinegar optional, can use any vinegar
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- Rinse the beans and remove the blossom end. You can remove the pointy end also if desired. For a visually pleasing dish, cut the beans into 1/3's and cut on a diagonal. Otherwise leave whole
- Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over med-high heat and add chopped onions. Saute until golden brown and caramelized (about 5 minutes)
- Add minced garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add beans and mix all together in the skillet.
- Add salt, oregano, and tomato vinegar (if using). Add some water to allow the beans to simmer in a bit of liquid. I added 1/2 cup, but use your discretion. Simmer everything for about 10 minutes
- Add cherry tomatoes to the skillet and mash lightly with a potato masher or a fork. Stir together and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until beans are texture that you prefer.
Step-by-step cooking tutorial for sauteed beans with smothered cod dinner
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