We all know that one of the great pleasures of the bounty of summer is that it tastes so good you don’t need, or want, to do much beyond getting it to the table. But as with writing, and perhaps as with anything, restraint in cooking has its challenges. Restraint requires attention to detail so that cooking times and seasonings make green beans and corn taste even more like green beans and corn.
For the corn for this meal, I do nothing more than break it in half, cook it for 3-4 minutes in plenty of boiling water (not salted; we’re after sweet here), drain, and serve. There is soft butter on the table but I rarely butter my summer corn because it just doesn’t need it to taste great. For the good bread, there is no bread baking on Main Street in summer. No air conditioning here, and the oven on would make the house crazy. But that just gives me the great joy of fetching my loaves (the epi or the seeded baguette) from Crooked Tree Breadworks, our local treasure.
For the green beans, try this:
Perfectly cooked green beans
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Trim the stem end of the beans by gathering them together facing the same direction and snipping all off with a scissors. I like to keep the curly point on; they’re pretty and especially tender in summer. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it well (a tablespoon or two). Add the beans. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. See how bright green they still are, with a little crunch? Perfect.