Fagiolino is a diminutive of fagiolo (bean) and it is most often used in the plural, fagiolini. I have always called fagiolini green beans here, but a recent post by Lisa of Champaign Taste featuring the purple and yellow varieties, besides the green one, made me decide to consult the dictionary. As a result, from now on I will try and call them snap beans, a term previously unknown to me.
I have always loved fagiolini, even as a vegetable-averse child and teenager. The day of the first written test at the end of high school, after six hours spent writing an essay, I went home exhausted and found a bowl of freshly-boiled green beans. I cut them into bite-size pieces, added a splash of vinegar and a thread of olive oil, and ate the whole bowl. After I finished, my somewhat dismayed mother commented: "Erano un chilo di fagiolini" (that was more than two pounds of snap beans).
I like my fagiolini boiled until they are on the soft side, but I am aware that most people like them on the crunchy side. Also, I sometimes use fresh lemon juice rather than vinegar as seasoning for my fagiolini.
As a child, the task of snapping off the top and tail of fagiolini before my mother boiled them fell upon me. In the process, the string along the seams can be pulled away, in case it is tough. The string nowadays is rarely a problem, because growers have selected beans without the undesirable trait that gave them one of their names (string beans).
In Veneto (the region around Venice), fagiolini are called tegoline, a sweet-sounding word I just love. In Milan, on the other hand, fagiolini are called cornetti, which was utterly confusing to me the first time I heard it, since in my home town cornetti are croissants.
I have planted a few seeds of bush beans in my garden. Unlike pole beans, bush beans do not need to climb over a support. I am hoping some of the baby fagiolini of the photo will grow enough to be harvested and cooked to taste.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, a food blogging event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, hosted this week by Melissa from Cooking Diva. WHB is rapidly approaching its second birthday: congratulations Kalyn! Here's the roundup of WHB #95.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the fagiolino audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
LOL! You ate the whole 2lbs? I don't blame you. ;-)
Posted by: Paz | August 11, 2007 at 11:56 AM
I love green beans...of any color! And I've been known to eat vast quantities of the them.
My mother used to fix them with onions and bacon, then finish them off with cream... Makes me hungry just thinking about it. I have a huge basket waiting for me in the kitchen.... I'm off...
Posted by: Katiez | August 11, 2007 at 12:20 PM
Indeed, Paz, I ate the whole bowl. It was a way of releasing the tension I had accumulated the previous several hours.
Happy snapping, Katie. I picked my first two fagiolini this morning and I am quite happy.
Posted by: Simona Carini | August 11, 2007 at 02:02 PM
I'm happy to see that Melissa is doing better and has finally posted the recap for this WHB. Thanks for being so patient.
Posted by: Kalyn | September 15, 2007 at 07:30 AM