Smoky Pole Beans and Tomatoes
Don't forget the bacon.
This summer, our Southern vegetable plates are looking fresh and clean. For a substantial vegetable side, these Smoky Pole Beans and Tomatoes bring a refreshing, but still hearty approach to a plate of beans. But to start: what are pole beans? A variety of green beans that grow on climbing vines, pole beans are broad and flat, with a sweeter, starchier flavor than bush beans. Flat pole beans, which we call for here, have a meatier texture than regular green beans. Look for flat pole beans or romano beans at farmers' markets in the summer months.
When preparing pole beans, it's important to blanch the beans until they're mostly tender; they take much longer to cook through than green beans, so make sure to go for the full 5 to 7 minutes. Boiling the beans, then searing them in a skillet with bacon drippings ensures that they cook through on the inside, but gain a lovely charred exterior. Starting to cook the bacon in a cold pan will help more fat to render, which will result in crispier bacon (and leave you with plenty of drippings to cook the beans in).
In this pole beans recipe, the beans and tomatoes pick up lots of luscious smoky flavor-the beans from the bacon, and the tomatoes from smoked paprika. Bacon, smoked paprika, toasted spices, and seared beans add various levels of smoke and char throughout the dish. We'd serve these pole beans with a thick, juicy steak-now that's a summer cookout dream.